An interview with Claire Gwent Carers Hub Manager, Claire Jones Firstly, what’s your job title and what does it entail?My job title is Carers Hub Manager, I cover the Gwent area and my job entails the overall running of the Gwent Hub for carers and all the ‘spokes’ linked to the hub, such as the Small Grants Scheme or the Carers Cafes. My role is about understanding what carers in Gwent need and where they need it so that we can then find services in the right area that can support our carers. It may mean that the services are not there and so my job would then be to look at how we can develop the service or work with other organisations who are able to deliver. What have you been involved with so far?So far I have been involved in simplifying the small grants applications and guidance so that we can raise awareness and get more carers access to the Small Grant Scheme. I have been working with Helena our Torfaen Carers Hub co-ordinator to get the Torfaen Carers Hub renovation completed. The hub is now looking amazing and our programme of ‘what’s on’ is growing. I would encourage all carers to pop to see our fabulous new hub, a warm welcome is always on offer along with a cuppa, we have so much to offer here. I have also been working on our carers café service, where we are working with Dewis and Hafal to offer support to carers when their cared for are in hospital. We will be on the wards and will be able to offer support and information when carers need it most. Look out for Marie and Caryl on various wards across Aneurin Bevan hospitals. Can you brief us on what we can expect over the next few weeks at the Hub?Over the next few weeks things are going to get busier and busier, we will be increasing our team so we will continue to develop the Information Advice and Assistance programme. We will be looking at working with carers to develop an expert panel of carers in Gwent and so if any carers are interested please get in touch. This expert panel will be key in development of services for carers. Most excitingly we have successfully secured funding for an exhibition van so that we can take the carers hub into the community where carers need it most! Do you have a fond memory from your job so far? Is there a moment with a carer that sticks out?In a relatively short space of time I have so many moments that stick out – I have seen first-hand the amazing support that the hub team are able to provide for carers, very often carers come to us when they need us most and the feedback that we have has been amazing. One carer told us that she felt so lonely but after coming to us she instantly felt that she had friends looking after her. One thing that stands out to me is seeing the peer support in action. We have carers coming to us after having a diagnosis, not knowing what will happen or what they need to do, feeling lost and isolated. We are able to support and provide the information they need, these carers then go on to provide peer support - they can empathise with others that are in the same situation they were in a couple of weeks previous and are able to share their experiences, very often forging new friendships in the process. And lastly, how do you think the renovation will benefit users of the Torfaen Carers Hub?The renovations that have taken place at the hub have been transformational. We have significantly increased the space, and size of the team based within the hub and so for carers this simply means more. More support, more groups, more information and more of what they need. Having a Carers Hub for Gwent means that carers can call one number and know that we will be able to support or get them to where they need to be. The feel of the hub is much fresher and brighter – I think more welcoming – but don’t take my word for it – come and see for yourself! Friendly faces at the Torfaen Carers Hub The Torfaen Carers Hub is located in Pontypool town centre, at 3 Crane Street, Pontypool, Torfaen, NP4 6LY and is open Monday – Friday from 10am to 3pm. Call 01495 753838 to find out more.