Describe your work with carers…
Manchester Carers Forum (MCF) support carers through providing a reliable place for carers to turn for support and information, working with others to improve support for carers, connecting carers with other carers and enabling carers to have a voice. All our support is confidential, independent and free.
MCF achieve this support through several avenues. They run monthly support groups across the city and are looking at areas where there is less coverage to set up new groups. The groups have guest speakers who talk about issues related to carers and the person they look after and MCF have also worked alongside the carers training programme to run workshops during the groups. In addition to the groups, MCF run trips throughout the year to give carers a break and connect with each other. Another avenue of support that MCF provide is peer support through the Carer Support Service. Historically this has been for carers of people living with Dementia however MCF have recently received further funding to expand this service to any carer in Manchester.
Tell us more about this new expansion of services…
MCF have just employed a new member of staff, Hannah, to take up the role of Carer Support Service Coordinator. One of Hannah’s focuses will be working to support the expansion of Carer Support Service which already provides a telephone support line and one to one support for carers, including home visits if required. This is mostly done through the work of volunteers and engages former carers to make up much of the volunteer base. This is what one carer said about the peer mentoring service: “Phone calls are priceless. Just when you feel down, a volunteer rings and lifts your spirits up” so it is fantastic that the service is being expanded to include any carer in Manchester.
What are some of the main principles and aims of Manchester Carers Forum?
The work that MCF carry out is always organic, flexible and responsive and a big part of what they do is working in partnership with others and being part of the Manchester Carers Network helps with this, working alongside the carers training programme in particular has benefited a lot of carers that attend the support groups. Other examples of MCF working in partnership includes their work around support for carers of people living with Dementia. Some of the organisations that MCF have worked with include Admiral Nurses, Mental Health teams, Alzheimer’s Society and Together Dementia Support. MCF also work alongside community centres and organisations such as Blackley Library and Burnage Community Centre to identify areas where there is less coverage of carer support and work to set up new groups. The foundation to this work always comes back to what carers in Manchester say they need. Ian from MCF summed it up, “it’s listening to carers and responding to their needs. Them telling us what they want”.
MCF are looking for new volunteers to provide one to one support for carers and for groups (such as running a group, helping to make refreshments, welcoming new carers etc.). They provide training and ongoing support to volunteers.
The MCF Support Line has been made possible by a grant from Postcode Community Trust, a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery
MCF have been able to fully expand their support to all carers in Manchester thanks to funding from both Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) and National Lottery players