News & Stories

Diverse Voices | Carers

27 June 2022

Chloe Peach (002)

Chloe Peach

Communications and Marketing Officer, Honeycomb Group

Being a carer can be emotionally and physically demanding.

I have some personal understanding of what it takes to be a carer as my mum used to be an unpaid carer for my great grandad. I was much younger, but I still remember the huge impact it had. She had to fit her whole life around trying to help him and always had to have her phone on.

In my work life I’m a Communications and Marketing Officer at Honeycomb Group and it’s vital to understand the diverse voices of our customers, staff and stakeholders to make sure we reach, represent and support them.

We recently signed up to Harry’s Pledge to commit to providing more affordable accessible homes. So when I saw the PlaceShapers diverse voices carers webinar I wanted to find out more about how I could support carers in my role and in my organisation too.

About the session

It was a great session that started off with Julie Doyle, CEO at Longhurst Group discussing how valuing carers, being a supportive and flexible employer and creating accessible spaces, supports carers and allows them to have a thriving career and life – and rightly so!

There were two stats that stood out to me that highlighted how many people will be or are carers. As well as the amount of people that struggle to manage caring commitments alongside work:

“1 in 4 of us are estimated to care for someone in our lifetime.”

“250,000 people are leaving work each year because they can’t juggle their work and home life commitments.”

I thought those stats were astounding! If you look across your office right now it means you’re possibly sitting next to a carer and you don’t even know it. It also highlighted that employers have to be flexible with their workforce to prevent them from losing really talented employees and carers.

Harry’s Pals

In the session we also heard from Hayley Charlesworth the founder of Harry’s Pals. She set up the charity to provide support for carers, after caring for her disabled son Harry. She mentioned there was a lot of support out there for Harry but not for her to come to terms with the diagnosis and the impact caring had.

She explained how Harry’s Pals provides carers with counselling, therapy and respite breaks for parents or siblings. They also raise awareness of the difficulties carers face and influence professional bodies to make changes.

Their new employer audit looks at how companies operate and what changes can be made to better support carers. It’s a great idea which is shared in exchange for a donation. Something I’ll definitely be proposing here at Honeycomb Group.

You can find out more about Harry's Pals here.

Carers stories

We also heard from carers Victoria and Sareeta who bravely shared their own stories to help attendees understand what a carer is and what support is needed.

Victoria cares for her 15-year-old son who has cerebral palsy and does it all while being a single mum with a dog! She said that it’s been difficult and challenging at times but that by having a supportive manager it means she doesn’t have to choose between having a career or being a carer.

Sareeta cares for her mum and has done since she was 11. She’s proud but says that over the years it’s become harder to cope with the physical demand of juggling being a carer and having a career. Having a flexible employer means Sareeta can also proudly do both.

Key takeaways

Hayley, Victoria and Sareeta’s inspiring stories highlighted a few key takeaways from the session that I feel, more organisations need to adopt to help support talented carers at work:

  • Training to help managers understand what a carer is and how they can be supported.
  • Having space or opportunities for honest and open conversations making it easier for carers to disclose to their workplace.
  • Being flexible allowing staff to work different hours.
  • Allowing staff to make time back for appointments rather than having to take annual leave.
  • Allowing staff to deal with issues when they come up.
  • Allowing staff to put their carer hat on without having to worry about work contacting them.
  • Openly sharing the stories of carers.
  • Making people aware of the support available to them.