Carers from across Monmouthshire attended an event this week (Wednesday 22nd November) jointly hosted by the county council and the Monmouthshire Carers Project to mark Carers’ Rights Day.  Held at Usk’s Glen-yr-Afon Hotel, the event raised awareness of the range of services, support and information available to carers as well as acknowledging and thanking carers for the immense contribution they make to society.

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for social care and health Councillor Penny Jones opened the day’s programme.  She said: “It’s such a pleasure to attend the Monmouthshire Carers’ Rights Day.  Occasions like these are so important in recognising and supporting our fantastic carers and raising the profile of the work carried out by the council’s carers team and support organisations.  I strongly believe that carers should be visible and we should listen to them as they are an integral part of society.  I would like to thank the team for organising this event.”

The morning was devoted to discussion around the Monmouthshire Carers’ Strategy. The voice of carers from across the county is apparent within the strategy as they played a significant and vital part in the consultation process to create the document. The strategy focuses on eight priorities and the carers’ team provided updates on progress implementing these.

Carers listened to informative presentations about a number of issues they deem important.  Respite is a very important and emotive priority and a number of presentations informed carers about the variety of options available.

Among the speakers providing help and advice were Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales and Gareth Howells, Chief Executive Director, Carers Trust SE Wales.

Mike Logan from the council’s Adult Social Care and Beccy Williams from Building Bridges, discussed how their initiative was having a positive impact on the wellbeing of parent carers. The Building Bridges project offers young people with additional needs to become independent and the opportunity to develop new skills, take part in fun activities and meet friends. Parent carers welcome the opportunity to gain valuable free time with the knowledge that their child is happy, having fun and safe.

Other presentations based on the priorities in the plan included information and communication and access to transport.

Huw Jones of the council’s Passenger Transport Unit provided information on Grass Routes, the county’s community transport service.  Grass Routes is operated by volunteer drivers in both Monmouthshire and Newport and provides a service tailored to the needs of the community.

One of the highlights of the day was the presentation of the county’s first Investors in Carers award to Abergavenny’s Tudor Gate surgery.  Gail Johnson received the accolade from Dr Brian Harries, Neighbourhood Care Network Lead for South Monmouthshire.  This follows partnership between the council and the Monmouthshire Carers Project to launch the Investors in Carers programme for surgeries in Monmouthshire.

For further information on the Monmouthshire Carers’ Strategy and to find out about support available for carers contact Carers Services Development Manager, Kim Sparrey – kimsparrey@monmouthshire.gov.uk .