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Care Stories 15th March 2024

Care England Conference: Voice of the People

By Lorcán Murray

People drive social care. The people who provide care, those who utilise care, our families and our wider communities. When you want to know about the reality of social care you need to speak to these people directly. So that’s what we did! Starting off at the Care England Conference.

Championing Change

Care England are a force for empowerment and growth in the social care sector. Their recent conference ‘Championing Change’ reflected this focus. The day was filled with engaging discussions and shared insights as a who’s who of positive change in social care shared their stories and perspectives. There remains a lot of work to do in social care to achieve the future we want. But there was also plenty to be proud of on the day, and several attendees took some time to share their experiences with us. 

“What makes you happy to work in social care?”

Sarah Jennings, Majesticare 
“The people that we look after make me happy. Making them happy makes me happy.” 
Prof Martin Green, Care England 
“I think it’s the impact we have on the people we support and I see lots of people who tell me that their lives have been transformed. 

For example, I was with somebody the other day and she told me that she’d been living in her own home, she was really frightened, her husband had died, and then she came into a care home and she said it was a new lease of life.” 
Raina Summerson, Agincare 
“My happiest moments in social care are when we’re taking over the transfer of services that have not been invested in or at risk of closure and you go in and you breathe that new life into someone’s home or someone’s service delivery. You work with them and you work with the workforce, you turn it around and you just have that positive buzz of making a difference in people’s lives.” 
Vic Fitzwalter, Jewish Care 
To increase staff involvement, we introduced a board in the office when a member of staff does something exceptional. They come in, use a different colour pen and write on the board. 
Then we speak about it and give them a clap. The board is full of exceptional stuff. It helps staff morale.  
A lot of times the care team, they’re doing a great job, but they’re not recognised, so this is awesome. 
Emmanuel Ali, Care Managers Ltd  
The technology that we brought into play has really helped us, technologies like Alexa were quite useful because [the people utilising our service] don’t need to wait for anyone of us to do anything for them. They can just talk and get what they like, [such as] people who like music, they just play it without waiting for anyone to come around to help them. It’s about enablement, you know, which they are very happy with. 
Tony Seagroatt, HR Fit for Purpose 
I think of my mum’s experience with social care. To me, what was good about the care home was that, from the manager down, the communication was good with all the staff. Mum’s personal needs were taken care of brilliantly. She also had things that were important to her, like having her hair done. That was done every week. They involved her in all the activities. She was a very social person, she loved being with all the other people in the home. They were very welcoming when we went too. Whenever we wanted to go and visit her in the home. I think it was just a very positive experience for her.” 

Anita Goyal, Goyal Foundation 
My passion and interest is really encouraging young people from schools and colleges to come in and learn about social care so that they can plan and design their career pathway. There’s a great space for careers in social care. And we have our second annual National Care Careers Conference. Which will be held on the 19th of November at the amazing Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Where we’re just going to give young people an insight and education around the social care sector. It’s a really positive experience. We’re going to have some amazing exhibitors and workshops that will teach and educate young people about various things like dementia. 
I think that there’s much work to be done around that. Especially with educating young people so that they can grow up as being the citizens of the future. Where they can support help and understand how they can contribute to this area of work. Especially with research, with discoveries, also supporting on social care side as well. 
Jodie Allen Cawley, Lifeways Care 
We have an initiative called Quality Checkers, and we have a hundred Quality Checkers in the organisation. They are people with lived at experience, who we support, who tell us about their experiences of the kind of support we provide, and what good looks like. 
We have some quality checkers that go on tour and give us this whole raft of feedback [across our services]. We have 11,000 staff who support almost 5000 people. So we harness all that feedback and then we come together once a year in our national workshop and we work through it all together.  
What people have told us is working about the support we provide and what isn’t working about support provide. Then we co -produce solutions around how we can improve what’s not working and we would celebrate the stuff that is working and we’re doing that in a really interactive way. 

A Care England Conference Celebration

There is so much to celebrate, so much to enjoy, and so much to champion in social care. It is our pleasure to work with so many amazing people, and our privilege to be a part of a community committed to driving positive change.

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