Since signing an historic devolution deal with the government, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care (GMHSC) Partnership taken charge of the £6bn spent on health and social care across the ten boroughs. A key part of their work is the Dementia United (DU) programme, whose mission is to make Greater Manchester the best place to live with dementia for both the person and their carers.
DU has agreed to commission and work in partnership with tide to co-design and deliver a model for the sustainable involvement of carers of people living with dementia. The DU new governance arrangements recognises the important role and contribution that carers as ‘Experts by Experience’ have and they will now sit alongside professionals and other leaders as equals -having a voting representative seat on both the DU Strategic Board and Implementation Operations Group. The Carer representatives will be drawn from a wider more diverse group of carers of people with dementia, who will form the first Dementia Carers Expert Reference Group (DCERG) and the whole involvement programme will be supported by a two year funded Carer Involvement Lead post.
At a recent workshop on February 14th, DU and tide worked alongside a fantastic number of carers and former carers from a diverse range of communities across Greater Manchester to hear from them how they want to contribute to the DU programme of work and what tide will offer to help them achieve this thorough our Carers Development Programme combined with the practical, emotional and psychological support that will be provided by the Carers Involvement Lead.
There was a rich tapestry of experience, passion and commitment on the day with 12 people wanting to join the Dementia Carers Expert Reference Group. Some of the feedback collated included:
A real buzz in the room- this is real listening
Enjoyed the set – up of the training where they gave the platform to the carers first
Interesting, Ambitious and Influential
Informative, Inspiring and Innovative – the 3 ‘I’s
Though provoking and positive
Very useful and informative. Good to know that some good work is going on by tide and DU
Presenters very passionate and knowledgeable
Anna Gaughan, CEO of Life Story Network (LSN) which hosts tide has long advocated for the investment in such a model and has worked alongside Warren Heppolette, Executive Lead, Strategy & System Development and his team to secure this commissioned partnership. The Carers Expert Reference Group will be launched in April.
Anna welcomed this innovative partnership, quoting Baljeet Sandhu, author of the report on ‘The Value of Lived Experience in Social Change’
“Despite sector-wide appreciation that lived experience of social issues can help inform social change initiatives, the wider sector has been slow to recognise the full value and benefit of lived expertise in terms of ‘leading change”.
Anna goes on to say that
“at tide we firmly believe in investing in the personal development of carers of people with dementia, empowering them to use their lived experience and providing them with the platforms from which they take a lead in the much needed transformative social change in dementia care. I hope that this model will inspire other areas of the UK to create the much needed infrastructure to enable and empower carers of people with dementia to influence and shape the future of dementia care and support.