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Bringing carers and the carers service together as expert partners to ensure carers needs, wishes and feelings are at the heart of everything we do

About us

A Carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour who could not manage without their help. Taking on a caring role can mean facing a life of poverty, isolation, frustration, ill health and depression. Many Carers give up an income, future employment prospects and pension rights. Many Carers also work and are trying to juggle jobs alongside undertaking a caring role. We operate an ‘open door’ policy, so even if you enquire about our service but find not for you, we will do our very best to signpost you to the correct services.

A Carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour who could not manage without their help. Taking on a caring role can mean facing a life of poverty, isolation, frustration, ill health and depression. Many Carers give up an income, future employment prospects and pension rights. Many Carers also work and are trying to juggle jobs alongside undertaking a caring role. We operate an ‘open door’ policy, so even if you enquire about our service but find not for you, we will do our very best to signpost you to the correct services.

There are almost 6 million Carers in the UK with an estimated 13 million people expected to become Carers in the next decade. Over 1.25 million Carers provide over 50 hours per week of care and 42% of the Carers are men. The value of the work that Carers do is currently estimated at £119 billion per annum. The 2011 census in Blackburn with Darwen revealed that there were 15,756 self-identifying carers in the Borough and over 4,000 of these people provided more than 50 hours per week of care.

Of carers caring for more than 50 hours a week:

  • 1 in 3 report depression
  • 1 in 2 report disturbed sleep
  • 1 in 4 report back and other strains
  • 40% have significant stress levels
  • 3 in every 4 carers are worse off financially as a result of caring
  • Only 25% of carers have had a ‘Carers Assessment’ and over 50% were unaware they have an entitlement to an assessment of their own needs, as a ‘Carer’.

Unfortunately many carers do not identify that they are a carer, although they may identify themselves as a concerned other, and can identify that their lives are impacted through a family member or friends illness or disability, such as:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Physical disabilities
  • Mental ill health issues
  • Drugs and/or Alcohol issues

As a Carers Service we understand all too well the impact that these issues can have on carers and because of this we work tirelessly to identify and support carers and concerned others to ensure they have early help and support without the need for issues to reach a crisis point.

The Carers Service aims to offer support to all carers within the Blackburn with Darwen area. The Service began in 2004 and was founded by carers, for carers, and was under the management of the Council for Voluntary Service – At this time we had 3 staff and no volunteers . The service became a company in 2006 and then gained independence in April 2007, becoming a registered charity in July 2007. The service continues to be a network member of the Carers Trust formally known as The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.   As a registered charity the service initially received funding from voluntary donations, Blackburn with Darwen Social Services, Blackburn with Darwen Primary Care Trust (PCT) and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (PRTC).  At this time we had 9 staff and 5 volunteers.

In March 2011 we moved into our new premises at Kingsway (at the bottom of Montague Street in Blackburn).  From here we work one to one with carers, provide quality activities and events, and oversee the many carers support groups that are held within the building. We are very proud to say that we also now have our very own beautifully decorated Olive Branch café/restaurant, of which is open to carers and the general public.  The Restaurant fully supports people with special needs or learning difficulties with volunteering opportunities.

During 2012 and up until March 2013 the service focused on working out in the community with an even more individual approach to our carers.  By giving our carers one to one support, as well as providing opportunities to meet with other carers, our overarching aim is to support carers to enable them to continue in their invaluable role.  At this time we had 14 staff and 10 volunteers.

2013 to present – Many changes have occurred between this period:

  • We now have a new  carers assessment which focuses on providing carers advisers with a full picture of how carers can be supported – not just papering over the cracks – open door policy
  • We now have a new database that will really support the team and subsequently carers as this will provide us with excellent information for working with carers in real time and also will provide valuable information for reporting purposes and to identify areas for future development.
  • A new website will be in place by Sept 2014 that will provide very clear and concise information about everything that the service offers to carers.
  • We now have a volunteer co-ordinator in place, of which has resulted in many more volunteers volunteering to support the services we offer, especially our new befriending scheme, of which again, supports carers longer term.
  • Work is also being undertaken to develop the restaurant arm of the service into a social enterprise
  • New trustees have come forward who have a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise.
  • New fundraising arm – Crafty Crazy Crafts – Need link here
  • The service now has 16 staff and approximately 40 volunteers and still growing.

sam-morris

Sam Morris – Chief Executive Officer

I started my career working with Children and Young people. My roles have been in a development capacity moving on to middle management then on to becoming Chief Executive Officer. I have experience working in the public and private and now the voluntary sector.

I have over 10 years’ experience in a Senior Management role taking responsibility for the Strategic development of the service. I completed a Post Graduate – Diploma in Management Studies in 2010.

I am passionate and determined to make a difference for carers and their families. I really enjoy my job and feel proud to head up the Carers Service.

I have an amazing team of staff with vast amount of experiences and skills.


karen-walker

Karen Walker – Centre Manager

Over 15 years management and training experience. Worked for BT for 14 years and then decided on a career change. Left BT to do a degree in working with children, young people and families – received a 1st class honours. I managed the Young Carers project for over 7 years and then was successful in securing the post of centre manager here at BwD Carers Service in March 2013. I love it – we have a fab team and genuinely make a big difference to the lives of our carers.


Parveen Awan – Carers Advisor

My role as Carers Advisor is to identify, assess and provide appropriate support to the ‘unpaid’ carers, whilst focusing on  their individual needs, wishes and feelings to  reduce the impact of caring on their personal lives.  I provide information about local services, funding support, counselling, therapeutic therapies, benefits, housing, employment and condition specific information.

I come from a teaching background and have been with the service for last 10 years.  I am  able to communicate in other community languages which is very beneficial for working  with the diverse communities of Blackburn with Darwen.


Yasmin Khalil – Carers Adviser

I have been working for the carers service supporting carers for over 5 years now. I am also a carer and it was due to my own personal experiences I decided to take this job.  I’m glad I did because it has given me the opportunity to support so many people in different caring roles.  My combined experience both personally and professionally has enabled me to support carers in a holistic way.


anna-frankland

Anna Frankland – Carers Adviser

I have worked for the Carers Service for the past three years.  My previous role was to offer support to those discharged from hospital who would have no family or friends to care for them. My current role is Darwen and Rural Carers Advisor. I work one to one with carers in these areas identifying their individual needs and how to give them the support they need to continue caring.


kulsum

Kulsum Chishti – Activities worker

I have been an Activities Worker for the past 3 years at the Carers Service.  I plan, organise and deliver activities to enable carers to get some time away from their caring role, build confidence, learn a new skill or find a hobby.  I have always worked in roles providing advice and support to adults and children, my previous job was working at a children’s centre organising activities for families and children.


joanne

Joanne Bates – Volunteer Co-ordinator

I have been involved with the Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service for 9 years, first as a carer, then as a volunteer and in May 2007 I joined the staff team as Children and young people with disabilities carers advisor.

I have also undertaken support planning work, supported with fundraising and in Dec 2013 became the volunteer coordinator for the service.I believe that the volunteers I am now working with will make a massive contribution to Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service and will help us to support many more carers and to also be more flexible and creative with the support the service can offer.

I have a BA Honours Degree in Special Needs with Health and Information, Advice and Guidance level 4; I have recently started back at university to study for my PGCE.


Vicky Bentley – Carers Adviser

I have worked for Blackburn and Darwen Carers Service since April 2013 having previously worked in social care and advisory roles within statutory and voluntary sector for many years. I believe that the carers service makes a positive difference to the lives of carers and is an enthusiastic team member’.


Clare Hobley  –  Carers Drugs and Alcohol adviser

I came to BwD Carers Service in November 2013 after spending 9 years working in Drug and Alcohol strategic teams and 18 months working in Carers Services.  My role as Drug and Alcohol Carers Advisor brings together my previous work experience, as well as my passion for supporting people and making a difference.  In my spare time I love cooking and baking, as well as rock climbing and walking. I’m also mad about cats and gladly accept the label of crazy cat woman!


Gillian Ingham – MATT Finance officer

I came to BwD Carers Service in November 2013 after spending 9 years working in Drug and Alcohol strategic teams and 18 months working in Carers Services.  My role as Drug and Alcohol Carers Advisor brings together my previous work experience, as well as my passion for supporting people and making a difference.  In my spare time I love cooking and baking, as well as rock climbing and walking. I’m also mad about cats and gladly accept the label of crazy cat woman!

Kiran Sadiq – Admin and Information officer

I have worked with the carers service for just over 12 months. I chose this career path as I enjoy helping people to have a great experience from our service and are therefore able to move forward in their lives. Admin is the engine function and so is being a great team player – other staff tell me that I am ‘like a breath of fresh air’, as I just get on with the job at hand and will support anyone who needs my help.


Carol Beardsworth – Receptionist

My name is Carol Beardsworth and as a Carer I have known the Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service for about five years. Because of the invaluable help and support I received I wanted to offer something back to this wonderful service and became a volunteer.

I have recently joined the Staff Team as the Receptionist. My duties include answering the phone, meeting and greeting Carers and visitors to our services. Booking appointments, ensuring Carers are kept up to date with activities and events as well as many more administration tasks to ensure the smooth running of a busy service.

 

jim-dickinson

Jim Dickson – Carers welfare rights officer

I joined the Carers Service in October 2014 having spent many years as a welfare rights adviser. My role is to help carers and their families maximise their income through benefits, tax credits entitlement and/or employment opportunities. I enjoy meeting carers and being a practical help.

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Our Mission
“Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service exists to provide a ‘one stop’ carers centre that offers support, information and advice to all unpaid carers within Blackburn with Darwen. We want to raise awareness of the needs of carers, encourage carers to participate and have a voice”.

Our Vision
“A community in which carers have a voice and their needs are recognised and respected. That they are empowered to achieve their goals and aspirations in their caring role”

Carers Service Strap line
“Bringing carers and the carers service together as expert partners to ensure carers needs, wishes and feelings are at the heart of everything we do”

Unlike many other services the Carers Service supports carers for as long as they need us. In the next section, ‘How we help carers’, you will see that in order to provide all round support, carers will have their own advisor for at least 12 weeks, and together, they can identify any intervention that is needed to alleviate or eradicate any areas of concern or issues that are affecting or impacting upon a carer through their caring role.

Although a carer may not feel that they need any support at this time, we highly recommend that carers still register with the service and undertake an assessment, as we have found that many carers have benefited from finding out about all the different services that are available to carers, with many very positive outcomes.

To ensure that issues do not escalate again,  or whereby further support is needed our open door policy is that we want carers to be able to contact us at any time after this and so there will always be an adviser here during working hours – 9.5pm. Carers will also have the continued benefit of using any of other services for as long as they need them, including activities, events and the groups.

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