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Carers First has been celebrated at a prestigious award ceremony on held on 30 March for their work to reach Hidden Carers in Medway. 

Carers First was recognised under the Excellence In Acting On Recommendations Made By Healthwatch category in the Healthwatch Recognition Awards, organised by both Healthwatch Kent & Healthwatch Medway. 

This event – in its first year – celebrated the best in health & social care in Kent & Medway. 200 guests came together last night to recognise the achievements, and hear ideas that they can use in their own work. 

Carers First was recognised for listening to Healthwatch Medway recommendations about how best to reach Hidden Carers. 

During the pandemic, Carers First and Healthwatch Medway wanted to ensure that people who were looking after someone knew that help was available should they need it. Together with Healthwatch Medway, Carers First ran a campaign to reach hidden carers and ensure they knew where to get support. However very few people got in touch so Healthwatch Medway ran a series of focus groups to understand what was stopping carers from seeking help. Both organisations learnt so much from these carers about how best to reach them, and Carers First has used Healthwatch Medway learning to inform its own work with Hidden Carers in Medway and nationally. 

As a result: 

  • Carers First continues to use emotive language to elicit the best response from those who use social media 
  • Carers First has strengthened their relationships with trusted professionals such as hospitals and GPs, so they can give carers information and encourage them to seek support 
  • Carers First has launched a new national campaign called We Care For You to reach Hidden Carers 

Alison Taylor, Chief Executive of Carers First, said,

“We are delighted to have been recognised for our work to support and reach hidden carers in Medway. Many hidden carers don’t consider themselves as carers – they’re a husband, a son, daughter or mother. This can make it less likely that they’ll reach out for support, but we want to ensure that hidden carers are not forgotten. Their wellbeing matters, and we want to support them to find a balance in their lives that they wish to achieve.” 

Talking about the award, Healthwatch Medway’s Martyn Cheesman said,

“We work with every single health and social care organisation in Medway to ensure that they are hearing your stories and using your experiences to improve their services. This bird’s eye view means that we see what’s working well, and what needs improving. 

“Our Healthwatch Recognition Awards has given us the opportunity to take a moment to recognise and celebrate the best on health & social care in Medway. Congratulations to everyone who has been recognised.” 

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