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The purpose of this strategy

The main purpose of the strategy and action plan is to provide a framework for service delivery and commissioning, setting out priorities for the next three years for how we identify, support and enable carers of all ages to balance their caring responsibilities with a life outside caring, and to stay healthy and fulfil their potential. It also sets out our plan for how we will maintain our progress and make improvements in those areas where we need to do better.

This strategy has been shaped by feedback from carers (including young carers), stakeholders and the public during a 13 week consultation period from 23 May to 30 August 2016. We received 97 responses to our questionnaire and engaged with carers at over 70 events. What we heard has helped us to build on our previous strategy and the progress we have made so far in identifying and supporting carers.

We developed the strategy with a group of carers and former carers, as well as with key partner organisations representing carers and the people they care for. It reflects all partners’ ideas for continuing to improve support for carers and will support us working together for carers. We know that the demand for health and social care is rising. This is due mainly to our ageing population and a growing number of older people needing more intensive care and support. We also know that the number of people with caring responsibilities is set to rise. The huge contribution that carers make to individuals and society cannot be underestimated. The strategy recognises the need to achieve more within existing resources, through organisations working closely together and with carers as equal partners, supporting them however they are identified, sharing expertise and knowledge, and ensuring that developments in how we deliver health and social care in the future is tailored to carers’ needs.

Who is the strategy for?

The strategy is for carers of all ages because caring can start and impact people at any age during childhood and adulthood; as a young carer, a friend, parent or as a partner caring in later life. It recognises that for each of these groups caring brings different pressures and risks. Whilst some support for carers is universal, the strategy looks at the different support that is needed at different life stages.

Who helped develop the strategy?

The following organisations have been directly involved and are committed to delivering the commitments in the strategy alongside the council and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group:

  • Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
  • Sirona Care and Health
  • The Carers Support Centre Bristol and South Gloucestershire
  • North Bristol NHS Trust

Thank you to all the carers who gave their views during the consultation, and the carers representatives who work with us.