In November, Portsmouth Carers Service hosted Carers Count, a free event which brought together carers from across the city.
A range of unpaid carers and health and social care professionals attended the event at the John Pounds Centre, which saw the launch of Health and Care Portsmouth’s new strategy – Portsmouth Plan for Carers.
The plan sets out shared values, as well as new goals:
The attendees heard from guest speakers, including Andy Biddle (Director of Adult Care at Portsmouth City Council), Clare Rachwal (Deputy Head of Market Development & Community Engagement at Portsmouth City Council), and Pauline Morris, an unpaid carer who shared her experience of caring within her family.
There was then time for group discussion, inspired by the guest speakers and some of the points they raised. These discussions focused on support for carers and what that looks like for different people – including carers breaks and respite. All of the attendees had the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences, with discussions taking place between unpaid carers, healthcare professionals, and representatives from voluntary organisations.
Local services and support organisations held information stands, which gave them the opportunity to speak to both carers and professionals, sharing resources and information about how they can support people in their caring role.
Carers were also able to attend a range of information sessions, which provided a detailed overview of some of the local services that can support carers in the city.
The response to the event has been extremely positive – when asked what they enjoyed most, one attendee said: ‘All of it! It was extremely informative, I could have spent over an hour visiting the information stands – everyone was so keen, approachable, and knowledgeable. Guest speakers were passionate and it was good to hear about future plans!’
For more information about Portsmouth Carers Service, visit their website.