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Swansea Parent Carer Forum

MAY NEWSLETTER

 

Coming up in June - Accessing Public Services Workshop for parent carers
The Accessing Public Services workshop (June 12th 10 to 2) supports parent carers in knowing how best to access the health, social care and education support services they are entitled to. To book a place on the workshop please click [here].

 

Regional
‘Your Say’ - Advisory Board Meeting
Next Steps for newly diagnosed early years ND
Participation & Engagement Children & Young People Workstream West Glamorgan

National
Meeting with Welsh Government re Regional Integrated Funding
Community of Practice Mental Health & Wellbeing
 
If you would like to know more about any of the above do get in touch with us at info@swanseapcf.org
 
This month we thought we would highlight the work of the Regional Wellbeing and Learning Disability Programme Board. To fully address the transformation of services for the learning disability population, the West Glamorgan Wellbeing and Learning Disability Programme was established in 2021, within the governance of the Regional Partnership Board. The programme is led by a Board where membership includes Third Sector organisations, people with lived experience, parent/carers, and representatives from Swansea Bay University Health Board, Swansea Social Services, Neath Port Talbot Social Services and Education.
The first regional five-year Learning Disability Strategy for adults, living in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot is a regional response to the needs of adults with learning disabilities and describes the commitment to a long-term strategic mission for meeting their needs over the next five years within the context of national legislation and guidance, regional plans, and available resources. To read the strategy please follow the link below.
https://www.westglamorgan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/WGRP-Learning-Disability-Strategy-English.pdf 

 
Short Breaks for Unpaid Carers
Caring for someone can be exhausting, both mentally and physically a short break will enable you to have time to yourself while knowing that the person you care for is being well looked after by someone else. This break might be for a few hours a week, a few days a month, or even longer. The idea is to give you a chance to relax and have a well-earned break from your caring duties. Short breaks are sometimes referred to as ‘respite care’.
If you don’t have family or friends who can help out, the first step is getting support – and a short break – is to ask your local council for a carer’s needs assessment. The type of support you receive will also depend on what is available in your area.
 
Funded short breaks for unpaid carers in Wales
Funded by Welsh Government, the Short Breaks Scheme is an initiative to support unpaid carers of all ages in Wales to take a break from their caring role. A short break is more than just a yoga class or an overnight stay in a hotel, it is a chance for carers to de-stress and recharge. It offers a break from the daily challenges of caring for a family member or friend. https://www.shortbreaksscheme.wales/
 
Types of short break
There are different types of short breaks. The length and frequency of your short breaks will vary depending on your support needs and what you want to do in the available time.
You may prefer short breaks on a regular basis, perhaps for a few hours at a time or overnight once a week; or you might want a fortnight’s break from your caring role to go on holiday. Not everyone needs the same level of support.

Support for the cared-for person
The idea of a short break is for you to relax in the knowledge that the person you care for is being well-looked after.
This care provision will vary depending on the needs of the cared-for person and the duration of your short break. It may include:
  • someone caring for or ‘sitting with’ the person in their own home, including overnight
  • supporting the person to take part in day activities 
  • a temporary stay in residential care or an extra care scheme (or hospice if appropriate)
  • a temporary stay in an adult placement scheme
  • the cared-for person going on holiday where their care needs are supported
Short breaks for the carers of disabled children
If you are caring for a disabled child, you have the legal right to a break from caring under the Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children (Wales) Regulations.
Local councils must now provide parents of disabled children with a short breaks services statement informing them what kind of short breaks are available.

Breaks for young carers
Young carers also need breaks from their caring commitments. There are young carers’ projects across Wales which organise leisure activities, trips and even holidays for young carers.

Direct payments for short breaks
As a carer, you have the right to receive direct payments for your own support needs. You can then use this money to make your own arrangements for a short break from your caring role when you need it.
Carers UK has lots of information about short breaks for carers.

Paying for a short break
How you pay for a short break depends on the type of respite the cared-for person needs and their personal financial situation. If there is a charge, then the local council must follow financial guidelines about how the cared-for person’s income and capital is taken into account.
 
Welsh Government have published their Unpaid carers delivery plan annual report 2023. The report sets out the progress made against their national strategy for unpaid carers. The report highlights Welsh Government  priorities and achievements from this past calendar year including:
  • the short breaks fund
  • the carers support fund
  • the carer aware programme
  • supporting carers with hospital discharge
  • the young carers ID card project
You can read the full report here:
https://www.gov.wales/unpaid-carers-delivery-plan-annual-report-2023-html?fbclid=Iw[…]lKo0xgH_5GtopWIv_AvYbofrv8ExK0A8EjwGhqeo72ckNPAB-m3XJgqPOUY33u
 
The Children’s Commissioner for Wales is asking school-aged children in Wales to share their views about play/break times. In her May Monthly Matter, the Commissioner is asking children whether they enjoy play/break time and what would make it better.
https://play.wales/news_category/call-for-children-to-have-their-say-about-play-breaktimes/
 
Swansea Council’s new “Disability Networking Group”. This group aims to act as a central space for connecting individuals and organisations across Swansea, to provide a welcoming space to build relationships, share experiences, and collaborate. They plan to host social events and publish a partnership newsletter with valuable information and resources. Our goal is to give everyone a voice. We want to empower people, build meaningful relationships, and explore opportunities to drive positive change.
You can sign up to their “Disability Networking Email” by clicking on the following link Disability Networking Group (DNG) - Swansea
They have also developed a new “Community Engagement” section on Swansea Council’s website which we will be updated regularly Community engagement - Swansea
Staff Contact Details are
Beth Thomas - Beth.Thomas@swansea.gov.uk
Mobile: 07814104816
Kathryn Symmons - Kathryn Symmons (Kathryn.Symmons@swansea.gov.uk)
Mobile: 07557166038
 

APRIL NEWSLETTER

 

 

The Forum have recently signed up to Easyfundraising.

It's a way of SPCF getting donations to support our work, and you can use it if you'd like to. All you have to do is sign up [here] and then use the Easyfundraising site when you buy from loads of online stores, including Amazon! This costs you no more than you would usually spend on what you buy, so we'd appreciate your support, if you are able.

Save the date!
A reminder that, as this year marks the 5th anniversary of the formation of Swansea Parent Carer Forum we will be celebrating all the fabulous parent carers in Swansea and everything the Forum have achieved so far on Tuesday 24th September at Swansea Arena. We hope you can join us.

     

    Some of the activities we have been involved in this month:

    Swansea

    • Play Theory & Advocacy
    • Swansea Poverty Partnership Forum
    • Play Network
    • Play Access Group
    • Catch up with Child & Family Services
    • Gower College
    • Task and finish group : supporting your child/adult through the diagnostic journey
    • Update on Post 16 implementation IDP Transfer to Further Education
    • Catch up with the Direct Payment Team
    • Llwyndrerw School ALN parents meet up
    • Autism Code of Practice Development Group
    • Swansea Volunteer Management Forum
    Regional
    • Learning Disability Regional Intergration Funding Panel
    • West Glamorgan Regional Partnership Board
    • Extraordinary Neurodiverse Board: Funding meeting
    • Steering and Advisory Boards 1&2
    • West Glamorgan Neurodiverse Programme Board
    • Alliance Health Professionals Collaborative meeting
    National
    • Gwent Parent Network
    • Wales Carer Poverty Focus Group for carers

    If you would like to know more about any aspect of our work or indeed would like to raise an issue do get in touch info@swanseapcf.org

    You may have seen from  the list of meetings we attend that the meeting below, under regional, was mentioned. We just thought that an explanation of what is discussed at the meeting might be of interest

    *Steering and Advisory Board 1 (SAB1) Update
    SAB1 met on Tuesday 2nd April and members received an update on the Carers Programme. A key outcome that’s made a real difference is the short breaks scheme, which was introduced last year following feedback from Carers who felt having the ability to apply for funding for a short break from their caring role would be hugely valuable. Grant funding was made available for both adults and Young Carers, who had the opportunity to apply for a funded short break tailored specifically to them and their personal needs and interests. This funding is due to be renewed for another year, and options on how it could be allocated are being explored.
    The topic of communications and engagement with Carers was also raised at SAB1, and plans are underway to arrange an annual event for Carers, along with a separate dedicated event for young Carers. A radio campaign to highlight the vital work of unpaid Carers is also in the pipeline, so please keep an eye (or ear!) out for that.
     
     

    We have been busy collating the findings from Swansea Parent Carer Forum Big Survey 2023 ( we will be sharing the report shortly ). One of the questions the survey asked was what training members would find helpful. As a result of your responses we applied for some funding to host Bladder & Bowel Health Workshop. Thanks to Austin Bailey Foundation we were able to run the workshop in April.
     
     
     
     
    Stolen Lives Homes Not Hospitals launched its petition to the Senedd at a packed protest on Wednesday 17th April supported by individuals, parents & self advocate voices. The Homes Not Hospitals protest has been organised by Stolen Lives, a group of families and carers calling for the release of people with a learning disability and/or autistic people from secure hospital settings in Wales.
    This is not a new issue, in 2020, just before the pandemic hit, the Welsh Government’s National Care Review highlighted that 166 people with a learning disability were having their care in hospital settings. The report made 70 recommendations, one of which states clearly that people should only stay in hospitals if there are no other ways to treat them safely.

    It is over 40 years since the pioneering All Wales Strategy was first published in 1983, which aimed to get people with a learning disability out of long stay hospitals and be supported to live in their local communities. However, today people with a learning disability and/or autism are still being sectioned and inappropriately placed in hospital settings simply because the right support is not available in their local area.

    People with a learning disability and/or autism should be able to receive the care and support they need in their communities whatever their needs, deserve homes not hospitals. You can read the Stolen Lives manifesto, including easy read versions, here: Stolen Lives blog.

    You can support this campaign by signing the petition.
    https://petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/246179
     
    The Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) is conducting a Performance Evaluation Inspection in Swansea Council Adult Services from the end of April into May.  They are reviewing how well local authorities are discharging their statutory functions to keep people who need care and support, and carers who need support, safe and promote their well-being. The People Survey – Performance Evaluation Inspection can be found at: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/peoplesurveypei/ individual comments are confidential, however, they may be used to provide feedback to the local authority. If you would prefer to speak to someone  about your feedback contact 03007900126  or contact CIWLocalAuthority@gov.wales
     
     
     

    Support in the workplace for carers 

    A systematic review by the Department of Work and Pensions shows carers with health problems are more likely to exit employment. Those who provide intense levels of care are between two and three times more likely to also suffer from ill health. However, there is less understanding about the landscape of carer-friendly workplaces in the UK. The Carers Trust and Simplyhealth research will examine carers’ experience of balancing their health needs with employment, alongside what dedicated support exists nationally in the workplace to support their health and wellbeing.
    The research is being reviewed and shaped by unpaid carers. It launches with a survey for unpaid carers who have a health condition, looking at their experiences of applying to, and being in, paid work. A further survey with employers will be carried out at a later date, alongside interviews with both unpaid carers and employers to get an in-depth understanding of the issue.
    The research findings will be published later this year. They will lead to a set of recommendations for employers that will help them better understand what support is needed, while also helping unpaid carers balance caring with work.
    The survey is available to fill in at https://forms.office.com/e/APKh9bjSRP

    Track The Act As an unpaid carer are you accessing your rights? 

    Carers Wales are asking the carers of Wales, to tell us whether you have seen or received information about caring in your local community. Whether you have received advice to support you in your caring role and if you have been involved in activities and support run in your local community. We also would like to know about your experience with Carers' Needs Assessments and what kind of personal support you currently have as a carer.
    Most importantly, we want to know how you feel your rights are being enacted and how you would like to see carer provision supplied moving forward. https://buff.ly/46EnOPk

    Day Opportunities Review Report 

    A report published by the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru into day opportunities since the pandemic has made 7 recommendations to improve service provision across Wales. Read the report here.

    Cerebra DLA Myth Buster aims to debunk common myths around Disability Living Allowance. Download the full Myth buster [here]

    FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER

     

    Time To Unwind Coffee Mornings

    Please keep an eye out on our socials [here] for updates on our work.

     

    Following many requests from parent carers for us to host this workshop, we are pleased to have received funding from the Austin Bailey Foundation, and will be holding a Bladder & Bowel workshop on Tuesday 16th April. Very few spaces remaining! Book [here]. We will be running the always popular Accessing Public Services workshop with Cerebra again in June - look out for details after Easter.

     

    The Once for Wales Health Profile is designed to be used at all types of health care visits, including GP, optician, dentist and social care. It replaces communication tools, such as the hospital passport. There is a Profile for adults and for children and young people.

     

    The Health Profile will help people with learning disabilities to get good, safe healthcare at the time they need it. People with learning disabilities themselves, their families and carers as well as wide range of health professionals have been involved in its development and have informed the content and format. The profile will contain information about the person's health, care and support needs and communication.  It's available to download and print and there are accompanying guidance notes.

     

    The Carer's Leave Act comes into effect on 6 April 2024, every employer must be ready to support unpaid carers in their workplace. Carers UK are running training events during March to make sure employers understand the implications of this new legislation.  You can book [here]

     

    Families in England and Wales Warm Home Discount Scheme  Most families on lower incomes with higher energy costs are eligible for and automatically receive the payment as a £150 deduction from their fuel bill. Unfortunately, due to rule changes in December 2022, suppliers no longer have discretion to offer the discount to families who get disability benefits but no means-tested benefits.  You might receive a letter telling you to call a dedicated helpline to provide further evidence. This is so the government can decide whether or not if you qualify.  You can find out more about the scheme [here].  

    Carers UK have a new information phone service for carers who prefer not to use computers or the internet. Carers can call and listen to recorded information about help with finances and household costs, caring for people with specific health conditions, looking after yourself as a carer, ways to get more support. You can call their freephone telephone on 0800 888 6999 and follow the options Help to Stay is a Welsh Government scheme which offers support to Welsh homeowners who are in, or facing, financial difficulty in paying their mortgage. You can find out more [here]. Moving from DLA to PIP can be stressful for parent carers. Many worry that their disabled child's award could be downgraded when they face a totally new assessment system. Unlike DLA, PIP (Personal Independence Payment) is based on a scoring system. To increase your child's chances of getting the right 'score', it's important to understand how the DWP interprets certain words on the form. Contact have put together a dictionary explaining some key words.
     
    They also have a PIP Guide which contains detailed information on the scoring system, how to claim PIP, its effect on other benefits, and how to challenge decisions.

    2023 is drawing to a close and it gives us great pleasure to write our final newsletter of this year. Some of us will be looking forward to the Christmas break while others will undoubtedly find the next few weeks challenging.  It's a great opportunity to remind ourselves as parent carers to trust your instincts, we know our children better than anyone and you and your Christmas efforts are good enough! We will have a number of exciting announcements early in the New Year as 2024 is already promising to be a big year for influencing positive change. Our monthly coffee mornings continue in the new year with a venue change to Friends of the Young Disabled which is based on Camarthen Road in central Swansea. Keep an eye out on our socials [here] for updates on our work as we head into the New Year.

     

     

    If you would like to know more about any aspect of our work or indeed would like to raise an issue do get in touch info@swanseapcf.org

     

     
     
    You can find a comprehensive list of the food support options across Swansea [here]. Some of the main super markets still have schemes running which you might find helpful:
    • Asda has relaunched its £1 soup with a roll and unlimited tea or coffee for over 60s until the end of February 2024.
    • Morrisons has a permanent 'kids eat free' offer with every adult meal purchased over £4.49.
    • Sainsbury's has a 'kids eat for £1' scheme with the purchase of any adult hot main meal of at least £5.20 (during school term time).

     

       

       

      Swansea Parent Carer Forum

       

       

      We are a group of volunteer parent carers. Our children are involved with Children’s Services, Adult Services, Education and Health services.
      We work with but are independent of the City & County of Swansea, and we want to make sure that services meet the needs of disabled children*, young people, adults and their families.
      We believe passionately that working co-productively with Swansea Council and other service providers puts the voice of disabled children* of all ages and their families at the centre of decisions and delivers services that work for our community.
      Our vision is for Swansea to be a place where the voices of families are valued and effectively used to achieve an equitable and inclusive quality of life for our children* of all ages.

      Swansea Parent Carer Forum - SPCF WelshSubtitles V01 020322

       

       

       

       

      If you would like to pick up an information pack, please see Kath at the office, os contact Ishbel Hansen

      Swansea Parent Carer Annual General Meeting 2023

       

       

      We will be holding our Annual General Meeting online using Zoom to discuss and review our work during 2022-2023:  

      Date: Wednesday 29th November 2023

      Time: 7PM

       

      Here is the link to join the meeting

       

      https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87266736979?pwd=U3VNZUpCdmRqWkhDWmhwZUMyL0pqdz09&mc_cid=8e10a5d05f&mc_eid=abd6b68000#success