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New unpaid carers representative appointed to the Richmond Health and Wellbeing Board

7 June 2022

This Carers Week (6 to 12 June 2022), Richmond Council is pleased to announce the appointment of a Carer Representative to the Health and Wellbeing Board, providing direct representation for residents who give unpaid care to their loved ones.

The Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) brings together key leaders from health and social care to improve the health and wellbeing of local people by addressing local needs. It is a partnership involving Richmond Council, local GPs, the Clinical Commissioning Group, local acute hospitals, and the voluntary sector. It is understood that the HWB is the first in the country to appoint an unpaid carer.

More than 18,000 people in Richmond upon Thames provide unpaid care to family members or friends who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.

Having Sara Challice on the board of the Health and Wellbeing Board helps the Council and its key partners improve the way the health and care system works, so that unpaid carers can access the information and support they need to continue to live their lives outside of their caring role.

Sara Challice, the new Carers Representative, said:

"It’s wonderful that our Health and Wellbeing Board has welcomed a Carers Representative as it is vital that the carers’ voice is heard when discussing various reports. For example, if a report focuses on those living with long-term health conditions, you can guarantee there will be people behind the scenes, caring for them, who will also need support. Carers are extremely important, saving our economy an estimated £193 billion a year. This is amazing, but not if you end up paying with your health, as so many carers sadly do. We need to continue to strive in supporting them, helping to improve their health and wellbeing."

Cllr Piers Allen, Chair of the Richmond Health & Wellbeing Board, said:

"Having a carer's representative on the Board is not only a powerful demonstration of our commitment to unpaid carer residents, but it also means all partnership members benefit from hearing a carer’s perspective on all the health and care policies that come to us for consideration. We believe we are the first HWB to appoint an unpaid carer and I hope many others around the country will do the same."

Melissa Wilks, CEO of Richmond Carers Centre, said:

"Richmond Carers Centre has been dedicated to supporting unpaid carers in Richmond since the early 2000s. The pandemic has shone an unprecedented spotlight on the vital role unpaid carers play in maintaining an effective health and care system and we are delighted to see more of our key partners asking themselves how their services can better improve the lives of residents, of all ages providing unpaid care."

If you are an unpaid carer or if you know someone who is, find out about the support services available by contacting the Richmond Carers Centre on 020 8867 2380 / info@richmondcarers.org.

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Up to: June 2022

Updated: 7 June 2022

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