Conference hailed a big success

A whole-family approach took centre stage at the 2015 Northumberland Carers Conference.

Currently, three in five people will be carers in their lifetime.

As the population ages and people live longer, often with complex health conditions, more and more people will be called upon to care for an older, disabled or a seriously ill loved one.

In Northumberland, there are almost 36,000 people providing care for relatives or friends.

Around 100 carers, professionals, service providers, commissioners and public and voluntary sector organisation representatives attended the conference at Kirkley Hall, near Ponteland.

It was organised by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Northumberland County Council, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group and Carers Northumberland.

Michele O’Brien, carers lead for the trust, said: “As an organisation we are very aware of the part played by unpaid carers within their community.

“They can be under a lot of pressure, and are often hidden from view.”

She added: “The aim of this conference was to give carers and professionals the opportunity to consider together the move towards whole-family approaches, what it means for people who rely on services for support, how this approach can benefit carers, reduce the impact of adult care needs on children in the family, and ensure all our services are carer friendly.”

Kerry Owen, a young carer from south east Northumberland, shared her experiences of caring in a key note speech to the conference.

The other speakers included Mary Connor, senior manager for early intervention at Northumberland County Council, Sharon Spurling, CEO of Carers Northumberland, Janet Murphy, CEO of Escape Family Support, Hilary Brown, director for carers for the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group and Stan Cooke, Carers Northumberland trustee.