‘We must take the truth to government.’ That was the rallying message from Carers UK Chief Executive Heléna Herklots at this years annual carers summit. Addressing carers’ fears of forthcoming welfare reforms she spoke for many when she said, “I can’t bring myself to call it reform, it’s not making life better for any of the carers or disabled people who I meet.” She said we must make the case that spending public money on carers is “an investment in our society, and not a drain on our economy.” Hundreds of carers from across the country took part in the event, both in person and online.
On 8 November hundreds of carers joined together for Carers UK’s annual National Carers Summit. Over 200 carers attended the Summit in London and were joined by a further 500 who participated live online via Carers World Radio.
There was a real buzz on the day, as members put forward their ideas for the direction of Carers UK’s work and our campaign priorities for the coming year, as well as questions to Government Minister for Care Services, Norman Lamb MP.
Carers UK Chief Executive, Helena Herklots, kicked off the Summit with words which define the history of Carers UK and its leadership – belief and action. Belief in change and action to support carers. Helena reflected on the past few months, highlighting various successes including the first ever Carers Parliament in Scotland, and Carers Week, which really brought home the impact of caring on the health of the UK’s 6.4 million carers. Helena spoke about the need to have belief in the year ahead, when major changes are taking place on welfare reform. She said, “I can’t bring myself to call it reform, it’s not making life better for any of the carers or disabled people who I meet.” She also spoke about care and support and the need to see spending as an investment in our society, and not as a drain on our economy.
In the afternoon, we were joined by Minister of State for Care Services, Norman Lamb MP who spoke of his enormous admiration for the contribution carers make and the importance of a strong and articulate voice for carers that Government can hear loud and clear. He talked about his aims for the next three years: to tackle fragmentation of services, to transform care services from reactive to preventive, and to take forward the promised reform of social care.
The audience was given an opportunity to put their questions to the Minister and the debate, Chaired by Carers UK’s Head of Policy, Emily Holzhausen, included public perceptions of carers and disabled people, young carers, quality of care services, Carer’s Allowance, social care cuts and breaks funding.
You can listen to the whole day at www.carersworldradio.com
Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45