Service in Focus - GP Carers Engagement Service in Focus Service in Focus is a new feature that explores some of the detail around the services CTSEW offers to unpaid carers in our communities. The GP Carers Engagement service supports unpaid carers living in Blaenau Gwent. The service is delivered by two Carer Engagement Officers: Angela James and Verity Lewis, who are seconded to Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council from CTSEW. The key aims of the service are to: Raise awareness of what support is available to unpaid carers across Blaenau Gwent and assist with signposting and refer on to other agencies and advising carers on their rights Improve identification of carers across the partnership Provide easy access to Carers Assessments (via referrals to Blaenau Gwent Carers Support Team) To provide a common approach using collaborative communication skills focusing on what matters to the carer in line with the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2012 To provide awareness on the range and types of respite care services available to people The service has been running since 2018. In that time Angela and Verity have worked with and helped thousands of unpaid carers living in the area. Before the pandemic, Angela and Verity were primarily based within GP surgeries to offer confidential information, advice and assistance directly to carers and reduce the pressure on both doctors and surgery staff. GP staff can also make direct referrals for carers into the service. Every surgery in the county has a dedicated Carers Champion and a Carers Noticeboard – with up to date literature displayed to ensure people are aware of the GP Carers Engagement service being available within their surgery. Since the start of the pandemic the service has been running remotely, providing an adapted confidential service via the phone, email, online and video calls. Over the last 12 months Angela and Verity have worked with 339 individual carers. Their work includes offering an initial one-to-one ‘What Matters’ conversation with carers to understand what type of support people need. Then ongoing practical help and advice linked to peoples care role covers everything from financial assistance to a friendly person to chat to. The service also provides regular peer support meetings, giving carers the chance to meet and talk with other carers and workers. Contact Angela 07843 371574 (West Blaenau Gwent, Beaufort down to Cwm including Tredegar areas) Verity 07843 371576 (East Blaenau Gwent, Brynmawr down to Swffryd) Feedback from carers "Speaking with you always makes me feel calmer about everything and makes me feel brighter. Thank you so much for all your support and kindness – I really do appreciate all you have done for me." "It’s so nice to talk to someone who asks how I am for a change, and is interested in me. I’m also so pleased to know that this service is available to support me as a carer. Everything I do is based around caring for my husband.” "I am so relieved to speak with you regarding all of this. I was feeling very scared and anxious about it all and knew I could speak honestly with you regarding it. I knew you would give me a balanced view and help me to see what the options are. I now feel that I can be honest when speaking with the hospital and social work team about how I am feeling." "It was so lovely to talk to someone so understanding. And I didn’t have to stress out any of my family. I’m so grateful to be able to speak to you more than you would ever know!"