Member Service Update
Whilst we are still in a challenging position financially, we are confident that our current efforts will continue to make a difference to tide’s survival. You will have received information on our ‘What If’ emergency funding campaign. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who are supporting us with fundraising activities and making donations. We appreciate your active participation in ensuring that tide survives for all carers of people living with dementia. Tide has come such a long way in a relatively short span of time, and we are determined that our important work continues.
So, back to the developments I mentioned. A reminder of tides original Vision and Mission might be helpful at this point:
Our vision is of a world where carers of people with dementia use their voices and society reflects and responds to their unique needs.
Our mission is to connect, mobilise and enable carers of people with dementia to recognise their own value and their contributions to society. We offer carers opportunities to use their individual and collective experiences of caring to influence policy and practice.
We remain absolutely committed to developing tide as a social movement, making real change so that ALL carers of people with dementia receive the support they so badly need. Like many charities, tide had to deviate from its original purpose and set up support groups for carers who were stranded at home with little or no help from services as we moved into lockdown. These services were a real lifeline for carers, and we had a very healthy turn out for groups.
Now that we are moving further away from the impact of Covid 19, the numbers of people attending tide groups has dwindled. It is time for us to put our focus back on our original Vision and Mission and we are working in earnest on developing campaigning and influencing work alongside carers. We do, however, wish to support the development of peer-to-peer support groups for those who feel that they would benefit from taking part in meeting up regularly with carers who are in a similar situation.
Why Peer to Peer Support Groups?
The value of spending time with people who understand the challenges faced daily can be hugely supportive. Our peers can also be full of great suggestions and tips about how to overcome issues.
What Will Happen To Existing Groups?
We are very keen to work with existing group attendees to support them becoming carer led support groups. We are already working with carers who are happy and able to take the lead on running some groups into the future. We are aiming to ensure that this happens smoothly by the end of October when tide groups will become carer led, and no longer run by tide staff members. We will, of course, be here if you need us for anything and we will be maintaining linkages with both existing and newly developed groups.
This change will give us the means to reach far more carers in a way that offers greater flexibility in terms of meeting times. I am very happy to report that we already have five carers who are looking at supporting us with this approach. We have also been contacted by a dementia organisation in Manchester who are keen to find out more about having their existing groups affiliated with tide. This is exactly the kind of approach that will see our reach increase rapidly. We must constantly extend our reach to make sure that as many carers as possible are enabled to benefit from tide’s work.
I just want to take the opportunity to clarify that the changes are not about losing members of staff. The aim is that team members work on different tasks that ensure that we reach more carers and join up our efforts with other organisations.
I want to assure you that whilst we are working towards an October timeline in terms of transitioning groups, we will do everything we can not to end any group until we find an alternative facilitator.
There seems to be interest in groups of carers co-hosting groups. This feels like a productive and supportive way forward. It will also mean that the responsibility of the group doesn’t fall on one person and allows for coverage if someone is unable to host the meeting.
UK Chat and Change
After discussions, we have decided to keep the UK Chat and Change group open and run by tide members of staff. This will make sure that there is at least one group running that anyone can access that stays under the sole control of tide.
Practical Carers Group
This group is in the process of being developed and we know that it has a role to play in influencing how new aids and adaptations are used and offered in the UK. Innovative products are in dire need of development and have a huge amount of potential to ease the caring role. The group has worked in partnership with Cogni-Health and this is an arrangement we are seeking to continue.
Carers Content Group
This group is also continuing and like the Practical Carers Group, will be developed to make sure that the work of the group sits comfortably with other carer involvement groups tide runs. The CCG has developed carer led resources and we see a role for its continuation.
I’m sure you will appreciate that this is a time of great change, not only for tide, but for many charities. We need to work effectively and extend our reach dramatically otherwise it is highly likely that we will cease to exist. As the CO, I believe these changes are already setting us in a more positive direction. There is no certainty in any change, but early indications bode well with new conversations happening with potential partners as a natural part of the process. I am hopeful that this will be the difference that makes the difference to tide and ensures that we not only survive but thrive into the future.
We shall be updating tide’s website (www.tide.uk.net) over the next couple of weeks and please contact me directly if there is anything you would like to discuss. My email address is Samantha@tidecarers.org.uk