Carers and professionals from all over Westminster were invited to attend our Carers Rights Day event on 27th November at the Mary Sumner House in the heart of Westminster – an apt venue of choice for a worthy cause. The theme of the event was ‘rights, advice, support’, neatly tying in with Westminster City Councils aim of building better communities and Carers Networks commitment towards valuing the carer in the community.

The tightly packed agenda had speakers from Disability Rights UK, Department for Work and Pensions, Citizens Advice Bureau, Carers Trust, Carers Action and Telecare Westminster, covering topics from Personal Independent Payment (PIP), the Care Bill, home adaptations, carers credit, best deals on energy, changes to benefits, welfare rights and carer activism.

Carers Rights DayConservative Cabinet Member for Adult Public Health Cllr Rachael Robathan, gave an opening speech, which included recent activities at the council to recognise carers in Westminster, namely the Westminster Carer Awards 2013, where ex – Chair for Carers Network, Betty Hippolyte, won an award for Carer volunteer of the year.

Carers also had the opportunity of visiting a range of information and advice stalls from external organisations including, Diabetes UK, Health Watch, Westminster Communications team, Citizens Advice Bureau, Munro Health Coop, Injury Prevention and many more.

The event was rounded off by entertainer ‘Shanks’ from Love to Drum who got the audience involved in making rhythmic beats on a range of percussion instruments.


On the 24th October Carers Network and City Cruises worked in partnership to deliver a free lunch time cruise across the Thames River for a group of carers.  The mini voyage through the heart of London also included a gourmet three- course meal with running commentary on the history of the Thames. After desert, carers strolled on deck to fully take in the river cruise experience. This historical views ranged from the awe-inspiring Houses of Parliament to the ancient Tower of London (with its gruesome past) and onto the Royal Palace of Greenwich. Indeed, carers enjoyed a feast for the eyes, ears and stomach.

Lunch cruise River Boat Cruise Carer, Joseph Frimpong said, “It was a fantastic trip – I enjoyed every moment and felt totally relaxed, it was nice to be waited on for a change. Thank you very much Carers Network”

Communications and Engagement Manager Cecilia Faduola who organised the trip said “Carers Network believe in memorable, quality breaks and will do everything possible to give carers just that”

Carers Network would like to thank City Cruises for their contribution towards the trip and excellent service on board the hop on hop off sightseeing tour.

Look out for information on how you could take part in day trips with Carers Network by viewing our online Events Calendar.






15e17b98779c5d0c82e013f3530441a3On September 17th members from Carers Action and staff from Carers Network presented Etta Carnelli with a lunch time spread, a bouquet of flowers and a special gift in appreciation for all her hardwork for carers across Westminster for the past six years. Etta is leaving the borough to settle in her new home of Dorset to be nearer her son who she cares for.

Nobody can say that Etta did not care passionately about carers rights, health and general well being. She campaigned tirelessly and spoke up for the rights of carers in various ways, such as her consistent and effective presence on various partnership boards, panels and committee groups, including, the Challenging Behaviour Steering Group, Carer Partnership Board, Carers Break Scheme Panel, Carers Network Board of Trustees and Carers Action.

Despite challenges with her sons care, she fought every fight with great patience, fortitude and grace. Her absence will be deeply felt by all who came into contact with the well spoken lady from Italy.

Carers Network and Carers Action would like to thank Etta for her commitment, hardwork and dedication to carers and wish her and her family the very for the future.

Farewell Etta!

On 15th October Westminster City Council hosted their first Carer Awards. The event was to recognise and thank carers who support a family member, friend or someone in the community with an illness or disability. With nearly 60 nominations and only four categories, the decision went down to the wire.

To our delight, ex Chair and trustee of Carers Network Betty Hippolyte won the award for Volunteer Carer of the year, which recognises carers who provide care and support to people through volunteering with a local organisation, a charity or the council and ensure carers have a voice, as well as supporting people in need. The award was a surprise to Betty who only found out a week before the night that she had been shortlisted for the award.

Betty’s exemplary commitment and dedication to her role as Chair and trustee for over 12 years was met with applause and heartfelt appreciation from guests and hosts Cllr Robathan and Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Hayms who presented Betty with her award and prizes donated from local businesses including St. James Theatre, SpaLondon, Rococo Chocolate, Anthologist restaurant. and Westminster Society.

Carers Network would like to congratulate Betty for her achievement and thank her all her hard work.

Well done Betty!

Bank of England, carers network, carers trust, south carers, employment for carer,

Bank of England

On Wednesday 9th October Carers Network joined staff members from Carers Trust and Southwark Carers on a visit to the Bank of England. The visit was organised by Carers Trust and Bank of England for the purpose of raising awareness of support available from local carers centers for working carers.

Communications and Engagement Manager Cecilia Faduola from Carers Network presented findings from a study conducted by Action for Carers in Employment, which showed the business and social benefits of supporting working carers. Attendees also heard about the valuable support carers receive in the form of practical and emotional support plus help to get breaks. The Bank of England employ over 4,000 people across various locations in the heart of London and have a robust programme in place to support working carers.

If your business or organisation employ working carers and would like to hear about the business and social benefits of supporting working carers please contact Carers Network to discuss your needs by calling 020 8960 3033. You can also visit Employers for Carers a website dedicated to supporting employers and working carers.

Carers Network news

Source: BBC News 24th August 2013

The UK faces a “lose-lose situation” unless workers who care for elderly parents are offered flexible working hours, the health secretary has said.

Jeremy Hunt said an ageing population and a “dementia time bomb” meant helping carers stay in work was an “economic necessity” for the country.

But he said too few employers currently offer carers flexible work options.

Meanwhile, a report has warned England is facing a shortfall in the number of people able to give vital unpaid care.

Mr Hunt said many workers doubled as carers for people with dementia and, with the number of sufferers expected to rise from about 800,000 now to more than a million by the end of the decade, employers must help carers stay in work.

‘Good for business’

“Too many people feel unable to combine caring for a family member with working – this will only get worse as we face the consequences of a dementia time bomb,” Mr Hunt said.

“We know that supporting flexible working for parents is good for business and good for the economy – it is time that the same was recognised for carers.


Council worker Barbara Chapman, from Saffron Walden in Essex, cares for her elderly father, who has lived with her since he suffered two strokes.

“I have always worked and my current job is 45 miles away from home,” she says.

“Why can’t the government introduce a salary sacrifice scheme to help provide carers for elderly people?

“I have interrupted sleep, getting up at 05:15 on weekdays so I can get dad washed, dressed and fed.

“My brother covers the lunch hour and I pay for care in the afternoon to ensure he is only left for two to three hours.

“I would like to pay for more care but the £14-an-hour cost is more than I get paid myself.

“I do work flexi-time and from home for a large borough council but I can no longer cope with the commuting or cost and need to find a job nearer home. ”

“By encouraging employers to do more we can build a stronger economy in a fairer society.

“Supporting carers is an economic necessity – leaving them to balance work and care creates a lose-lose situation for everyone.”

He said the UK could not afford to lose experienced workers who double as carers from the workforce.

The Work and Families Act 2006 gives carers the right to request changes to their working
patterns to better manage their caring.

Employers can only reject such requests based on reasons listed in the act, most of which relate to negative effect on the business.

But Mr Hunt said a cultural change was needed among employers, saying carers should get the same flexible working opportunities as parents with young children.

Meanwhile, research by the London School of Economics (LSE) suggested a gap between the number of frail elderly people in need of care and those able to provide it free would begin to become evident in England by 2017.

By 2032, 160,000 elderly people could be left without the support they need, the researchers predicted.

LSE used population projections and survey data to compile the figures.

An estimated 675,000 older people currently rely on unpaid carers – mainly their children – as they fall outside the state support system, which is available to the poorest.

‘Stressed staff’

Flexible working options

  • Flexi-time (choosing when to do some or all of your hours)
  • Home working or tele-working (some or all work done away from work)
  • Job sharing
  • Part-time working
  • Term-time working
  • Shift-swapping or self-rostering (Employees agree shifts among themselves)
  • Staggered hours (Employees have various starting and finishing times)
  • Compressed hours (Employees work their total hours over fewer working days)
  • Annualised hours (Working hours are calculated over a whole year and then split into “fixed shifts” and      “reserve shifts” which can be agreed on a more flexible basis)





Carers Network Eid Party 2013

In August, we threw a party to celebrate Eid for all our carers. Over 60 carers descended on the Beethoven Centre in Queens Park and enjoyed a rapturous afternoon of magic tricks, Bollywood dancing, steel pan playing lively music and fantastic food. Special guest Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Jan Prendergast headed the Raffle Prize announcements where several carers won prizes kindly donated from Crabtree and Evelyn, Lush Cosmetics, Neal’s Yard, Rituals, L’Occitane and Aqua Spa. We’d like to thank all our guests, partners and service providers for their contribution on the day.