The Committee considered a joint report of the Director of Adults and Communities, Children and Family Services and Public Health, the purpose of which was to provide an overview of progress in implementing the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Carers’ Strategy 2022-2025 and the associated action plan in Leicestershire. The report further set out details of the Carers’ Week programme (5-11 June 2023), and outlined key areas being developed to support carers in Leicestershire with the Council’s partners.
Prior to the
presentation of the report, the Director informed the meeting of an event that
had been held at County Hall that morning to mark the start of Carer’s Week,
with over 50 people attending with a range of partners presenting information
and advice on a range of topics, including mental health and mindfulness. Good
feedback had been received from attendees and partners.
At this point in the meeting Ms
Arising from discussion and questions, the following points arose:
i. Between May 2022 and March 2023, the County Council through Voluntary Action South Leicestershire (VASL) had identified 1,000 new carers (around five to six a day). The Young Carers Services had also reached out to around 73 new carers to provide support, working with schools and colleges.
ii. It was intended for the action plan to be focussed on Leicestershire to make it more contained. A multi-agency Leicestershire strategy group had been set up, with its first meeting arranged for 30th June, with partners specific to Leicestershire, who would drive the Strategy and action plan forward.
iii. Members were pleased to hear that the Strategy and related action plan would be all encompassing and include areas such as parent carer actions around special schools, and post-16 care.
iv. Members highlighted that young carers were often the hidden face of community care, and that very often families were ashamed that they had young carers looking after them so didn’t speak out. Also, being a young carer very often meant they missed out on education and a life outside of home as they undertook their caring role. Members noted that the Young Carers service was specifically aimed to support young carers with the issues identified by Members and feedback from the young carers group would continue to inform this Strategy and related action plan.
v. A Member commented on the small number of people (138) who had claimed the Hospital Discharge Grant for Carers, with just under £40,000 (8%) of the total £2million Adult Social Care Winter Discharge Fund having been used in this way. The Member suggested that statistics for the area showed that approximately 2,000 to 2,500 patients had been discharged from hospital during that time and therefore questioned how well the grant funding had been advertised on hospital wards.
vi. Members noted the that the Hospital Discharge Grant for Carers had been just one of a number of schemes funded by the Winter Discharge Grant. This had been a new and innovative scheme introduced by the Council to assist carers. Members noted that communication of the scheme had been limited as the Government had only announced the funding on 16 December 2022 but required this be spent by 31 March 2023. Information had reached the Royal Infirmary and Glenfield hospital wards, and the Director said the scheme had been hugely successful with over 100 new carers having been identified during that short period. Members were pleased to note that a similar scheme would be reinstated as and when equivalent funding becomes available. An evaluation report on take-up of the scheme over the initial 10 weeks would be shared with Members.
vii. The Chairman commented that it was hoped it could be recognised that the work the Council had done for carers had grown and built upon each year and suggested that this provided reassurance to the people of Leicestershire that work to support carers would continue. It was suggested that this work and the availability of the scheme should be communicated widely. A Member further suggested that hospital ward staff should be informed of the scheme to help to promote the availability of this grant funding directly to patient carers.
That the report on the overview of progress in
Implementing the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Carers Strategy
2022-2025 and the associated action plan in Leicestershire be noted;
That the Director of Adults and Communities be
requested to consider the suggestions now made by the Committee to widely
promote the Strategy and the work being done to implement it.