The national week aims each year to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges faced by around 6.5 million carers in the UK and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities.
As an addition to National Carers Week 2018, DWF has dedicated a whole month to recognising the efforts of its people who regularly care for others and to help raise awareness of the strain it may put on their work and home life balance. The month's activities and events were led by corporate partner and member of DWF's Diversity Steering Group, Lisa Stavropoulos.
The business teamed up with entrepreneur Jennie Johnson MBE, founder of North West childcare provider Kids Allowed Limited, to provide a panel event for those engaged in the provision of care for others. Jennie has been running Kids Allowed for fifteen years and her approach to childcare not only focuses on providing the best care for the children, but providing a flexible approach to make the childcare work for parents too. She is passionate about making Kids Allowed a great place to work for her colleagues and has been awarded an MBE for services to apprenticeships.
The panel event highlighted the importance of providing practical advice to both colleagues and carers and offered information to help businesses better understand the benefits of supporting carers in their workplace. Alison McKenna, charity coordinator for Manchester charity Cyril Flint, also joined the panel discussion. Cyril Flint seeks to care for the ageing community by providing a premier befriending and volunteering service for those who are later in life.
Other initiatives held by DWF during the month included an interactive dementia friends information session to educate people about the condition and the small ways they can help those suffering with dementia. Run by DWF solicitor and dementia champion Rachel Farnworth, the information session provided others with the chance to become a dementia friend. The business also hosted information sessions with Katherine Wilson, Head of Employers for Carers at Carers UK, which covered how colleagues can identify and engage with carers in the workplace. The session also offered practical and sustainable ways to help carers stay in work and maintain health and productivity.
Kirsty Rogers, Executive Partner of DWF's Manchester office, commented: "At DWF we have many carers across the business who dedicate their time to caring for relatives, close friends or acquaintances. Our continued diversity initiatives such as agile working help to support these people and raise awareness in other colleagues. We can only get stronger as a business and a community by supporting those who provide essential care to others in need."
Jennie Johnson MBE, Chief Executive Officer of Kids Allowed Ltd, said: "It's important for businesses to create a safe, supportive environment for carers and colleagues as people spend a lot of time at work so it’s vital that work is an experience they enjoy and a place where they can feel comfortable. As each carer's situation is unique, businesses need to create opportunities for dialogue in an honest and open environment to ensure they're doing what they can to support each colleague. People want to feel as though they can discuss their needs safely without feeling as though it would be frowned upon. It's about finding a work and home life balance that works for the colleague and works for the business too. DWF are one of those businesses making an impact to the lives of carers and the business seems to be leading the way in prioritising the needs of their people by recognising their responsibilities and providing flexibility and support."