“Devon Carers, the team I lead at Westbank, is dedicated to the needs of unpaid carers. According to the national organisation Carers UK, 1 in 7 adults juggle work alongside caring responsibilities. Many feel they have no choice but to give up paid employment prematurely to care full-time for friends or family.

Through our Carer Friendly Devon scheme, we are helping to reduce the number of people giving up work each day across Devon. How? By helping local businesses to better understand the needs of employees with caring responsibilities at home and providing the support organisations need to create a positive and inclusive workplace for staff who are or will become unpaid carers.

Becoming a carer can happen gradually or suddenly, perhaps because of an accident or a dramatic change in circumstances. It’s a difficult role at the best of times and especially when you’re juggling it alongside employment.

As a result of our engagement with employers and developing conversations around caring, a growing number of unpaid carers feel more supported within their workplace and their community. This benefits their health and well-being and that of the person they care for.

Westbank’s Devon Carers service is committed to helping businesses large and small by offering ongoing help and training and wants to continue to grow the number of employers who are carer-friendly and carer aware. A number of large organisations in the Exeter area have joined the Carer Friendly Devon initiative, including Libraries Unlimited, Killerton Estate National Trust, John Lewis, Great Western Railway, Recovery Devon and Bluebird Care; smaller organisations that have joined include Exeter’s Cygnet Training Theatre and Lloyd’s Lounge and The Bookery in Crediton.

For businesses, the benefits include attracting and retaining staff; reducing stress, sick leave and absenteeism; reducing recruitment and training costs; improving service delivery, people management, staff morale, loyalty, team spirit and workplace relations and increasing resilience and productivity.

Carer Friendly Devon shows that, by making small changes, employers can have a big impact in terms of supporting employees and customers who are carers. The scheme also supports Devon’s economy: by helping employers to become carer-aware and carer friendly, the skills and experience of carers are more likely to remain in the workplace. Ultimately, it creates a richer and more inclusive workforce for us all.”

Get in touch if you would like to find out more about the scheme and how it could benefit your team: devoncarers.org.uk

Article from The Moorlander newspaper