Interview of Madeleine Starr – Carers UK’s Head of Innovation (12/03/2013)
“Carers UKis a charity supporting the 6 million people in the UK who look after an elderly, sick or disabled family member or friend. Caring is or will be part of most people’s lives, but without the right help the costs of caring can be high – to individuals, to families and to the economy. Carers UK supports carers and professionals working with carers by providing information, consultancy and training, and provides services to employers through its Employers for Carers membership forum. Carers UK also works to influence policy at local, national and international level through its research, campaigns and events.”
“Carers UK is a key player in the current UK, European and indeed global debate about how we manage care and caring into the future. One of its critical roles is to engage with families, carers, communities, employers and service providers across all sectors – to identify what they see as major challenges and to work in policy and delivery partnerships at local, national and international level to drive and deliver innovative solutions. It seeks to raise – and to explore answers to – the fundamental questions facing modern families and communities. Will families be able to continue providing the same levels of care as they do today? How will employers retain key staff who are faced with caring responsibilities? How will society be able to afford to pay for care with a shrinking public sector? These are big societal issues, and Carers UK believes that the widest public debate is needed to address them.
In helping to lead that debate, Carers UK is a founding member of Eurocarers, the European platform of carers organisations, a founding member of the International Alliance of Caregivers Organisations, and a member of the Steering Group of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing“.
“Carers UK has nearly 50 years experience of working to improve carers lives, throughcampaigning and lobbying, and providing information, advocacy, training and consultancy services. It has a membership of 15,000 individual carers and through its network of 60 local branches, its affiliate membership of 500 organisations who work with and support carers, and through its online community and flagship awareness activities such as Carers Week and Carers Rights Day, it reaches nearly 4 million more. Carers UK co-founded and administers the Employers for Carers forum whose 70 members currently employ over 1 million employees, 1 in 7 of whom will have caring responsibilities.
Carers UK consults widely and regularly on support for carers and families, and has extensive delivery and dissemination networks including national and local government, researchers, employers, public, private and voluntary sector organisations, community groups and volunteers. Caring is an ‘everyman’ issue , and Carers UK’s mission is to reach and offer support to all carers“.
Innovation in service delivery
“As well as considerable reach, Carers UK has a track record for innovation in service development and delivery, with a growing role as a consultant to local and health authorities on new service models to support families and carers. It is involved in the development of a number of technology-enabled solutions to support carers, in partnership with established technology developers and providers. Carers UK wants to see better use of effective health and care technologies, offering new opportunities to deliver information to carers, to support the care workforce and to produce tools to manage and share care“.