New strategy launches vision to improve lives of Gateshead caregivers

A new strategy on the vision to improve the lives of caregivers in Gateshead is launching ahead of Carers Week (10-16 June).

A caregiver is a person who provides unpaid support to a partner, relative, friend or neighbour who couldn’t cope without their help. This could be due to old age, frailty, disability, a serious health condition, mental ill health, or substance misuse.

The new strategy, produced by Gateshead Council and the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) with the Gateshead Caregivers Partnership Board, outlines the vision to improve lives of caregivers in Gateshead.

In doing so, the council, ICB and partners across the health and VCSE sectors recognise the immense contribution caregivers make to our communities across the borough and demonstrates our commitment to supporting caregivers over the strategy term and beyond.

Following engagement with caregivers from Gateshead and consultation with the Partnership Board, five strategic priorities were outlined:

  • information and advice
  • valuing caregivers
  • money and finances
  • employment and education
  • health of caregivers

The strategy will be launched at three events in Gateshead. This includes two drop-in events at Blaydon Walk-In Centre and the QE Hospital, as well as the Gateshead Carers Gala event during Carers Week, which is held with partners across the board to celebrate caregivers:

  • Blaydon Urgent Treatment Centre, NE21 5NW on Tuesday 21 May from 10am until 12pm
  • QE Hospital (use the main entrance and it’s downstairs next to Costa and Subway), NE9 6SX on Thursday 23 May from 10am until 12pm
  • Gateshead Carers Gala, Saltwell Park, NE9 5AX on Wednesday 12 June from 11am until 2.30pm

Councillor Michael McNestry, former cabinet member for Adult Social Care at Gateshead Council, said: “It has been a privilege to work with caregivers and partners on developing the Adult Caregivers Strategy for Gateshead.

“We have been working with them since 2021 to ensure their knowledge and experience shapes the strategy that sets out our vision for improving the lives of Gateshead caregivers.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all caregivers for supporting their loved ones, you are the unsung heroes of our communities.”

Councillor John Adams, cabinet member for Adult Social Care at Gateshead Council, said: “We’re proud to launch our new Caregivers Strategy and look forward to joining the Gateshead Carers Gala event to celebrate our amazing caregivers during Carers Week.

“For anyone who cares for an adult in Gateshead and has never considered themselves to be a caregiver – you’re not alone. Find out more about our new strategy and the support on offer for you at one of our upcoming events.

“I look forward to moving the strategy forward and continuing our work with partners to provide the best support and advice possible for caregivers across the borough.”

Steve Cowen, Chief Executive Officer of Gateshead Carers Association, said: “As an organisation run by and for caregivers in Gateshead, we are delighted to see the new Caregivers Strategy. 

“The commitment to regularly review and monitor progress towards achieving the priorities set out in the strategy, at the Gateshead Carers Partnership Board, is particularly welcomed. We know that the demands on people who are providing unpaid care are increasing every year.

“We know people providing unpaid care do so at a significant cost to their financial health, physical health and mental health. We look forward to working with partner organisations across health and social care to ensure this strategy is delivered and people providing care experience positive changes.”

Lynn Wilson, director of delivery at North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: “Every day, unpaid caregivers in Gateshead and across the UK make a huge difference in the lives of the friends and loved ones they support. Caring can be rewarding but can also bring challenges socially with health, money, education or employment.

“This strategy can help to ensure that caregivers get the support, recognition and understanding they need and deserve, where possible closer to home.”

Gill Findley, Chief Nurse and Chief Nurse and Professional Lead for Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals and Deputy Chief Executive, said: “Caregivers play a vital role in the NHS and provide much-needed care and support for many of our patients. They are likely to know more about our patients than anyone else, and we know it can sometimes be a difficult and demanding job to look after someone, so we want to try and make sure caregivers are getting some help and support, too.

“That’s why at Gateshead Health, we are committed to providing as much support and advice as we can to caregivers. We support John’s campaign, which is a national campaign that advocates for carers being welcomed in hospitals and Carers’ Passports are available, which helps caregivers continue to provide care for a loved one in the hospital to access benefits such as help with car parking and provision of tea and coffee on the ward.”

Anyone who is a Caregiver in Gateshead can find out more about the strategy and the support on offer for them below or by attending an event.