Head of Campaigning and Influencing
As Head of Campaigning and Influencing , I ensure that we empower carers through our delivery of the Carer Development programme, and that we listen to our carers and seek out opportunities for them to tell their story and use their voice of lived experience to raise the issues that unpaid Carers of people with dementia face on a local, regional and national level to effect systems and policy change . I also liaise with partner organisations on a strategic level, to help raise the profile of Dementia Carers and their struggles nationally as I truly believe that we are stronger together.
I began my career, working in the legal profession before moving into working for Local Government. During this time I became the main carer for my nana who developed vascular dementia . I became her main carer by default. No one asked me if this is what I wanted to do, or more importantly, if I was able to do it. No one else in the family was taking on the role of carer, and my nana was struggling, so I took it on . For 7 years, I really struggled with the day to day practicalities of caring for her, working 4 days a week and bringing up two young children. The experience was made all the more difficult because I struggled to get a diagnosis for my nana until literally months before her death. It was the ongoing struggle that I had endured for years and the difficulties that I had faced within my caring role that made me re-evaluate my life choices . Following her death, and after 20 years working for the council, I took voluntary redundancy and moved into the Voluntary sector working with people affected by dementia and then stroke. I am currently studying for an MSc in Dementia Studies at Hull University.
It is important to me that carers voices are heard in order to make them feel that their experience matters. There is nothing more powerful than the voices of lived experience and I want to enable those voices to find a platform so that policy and decision making at all levels, going forward, is reflective of the views and experience of those carers of people with dementia.