Services for thousands of carers across North Northamptonshire set to improve with new five-year plan

23 April 2024

A new and ambitious five-year strategy aimed to enhance the lives of caregivers across North Northamptonshire was approved at Thursday's Executive meeting. 

A carer is someone who selflessly offers unpaid assistance to their partner, family member, friend or neighbour who may be unwell, have a disability or struggle without this essential help. There are three statutory definitions which are: The Parent Carer, The Young Carer and the Adult Carer.  

This is the first 'All Age Carers Strategy for North Northamptonshire’ and has been developed in partnership with Public Health, unpaid carers, or ‘Experts with Experience,’ and professional providers in the area. A mapping exercise of current provision and a number of engagement sessions and online workshops informed the work. 

It sets out the shared ambitions and intentions to improve and develop services and experiences for those of all ages in each category. 

The 2021 Census revealed 28,916 residents recognised themselves as a carer in North Northamptonshire. Of that number, 10,190 adult carers and 756 Young Carer are registered with our Supporting Carers Service, provided by our contracted partner Northamptonshire Carers. 

More than 50 hours of care is delivered per week by 8,869 residents between the age of 15 and 49 across North Northamptonshire, with 5,881 delivering between 20 and 49 hours and 14,066 delivering up to 19 hours. 

The priorities below have been identified in order to value and support these carers and volunteers: 

  • Work with Northamptonshire Carers to deliver carers needs assessments, a carers forum, and other support such as a sitting service and respite care.  
  • Work with carers to establish the support that is needed and determine how this support can be best delivered.  
  • Train carers in using complex aids and equipment.  
  • Identify children who are carers and ensure support is in place to allow them to live their lives.  
  • Deliver the Carers Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) which includes the exploration of the needs of older carers.  
  • Support adult carers who report that they have not had as much social contact as they would like through social prescribing. 
  •  Ensure those in a management role within the Council are enabled to support working carers.  
  • A Carers Forum will now be established to undertake co-produced reviews and implementation of the Strategy in May 2024.
Carers do a fantastic job looking after their loved ones. This strategy sets out how we will help them, whether it is providing information, helping them to fit caring around their day to day lives or having a well deserved break.  

We will also set up a Carers Forum to continue to work with carers to keep this strategy under review.
Cllr Gill Mercer, Executive Member for Adults, Health and Well-being
We value the hugely significant contribution that unpaid carers make in our local communities. This strategy has been developed in partnership with them and sets out our shared ambitions for how we will continue to support them in their essential role.  

We will work tirelessly in partnership with them to ensure that this strategy comes to life and begins to make a real difference to people’s lives; ensuring there is an offer across north Northamptonshire that provides effective support, information and advice to improve the lives of unpaid carers as well as those individuals they support.
Jason Smithers, Leader of North Northamptonshire Council

What else will we do?  

  • Raise awareness of the caring role with local employers and businesses, including their legal duties to carers.  
  • Increase the number of employers in North Northamptonshire to sign up to the Carer Friendly Employer Accreditation Scheme provided by Northamptonshire Carers.  
  • Raise awareness of Young Carers in local schools, colleges and educational settings.  
  • Through our Supporting Carers Service Offer, ensure there is a robust provision for carers interested in starting/returning to work, accessing education opportunities or seeking to volunteer. This will include support with CV writing, interview skills and opportunities in personal development.  
  • In collaboration with the NCT, Northamptonshire Carers and local organisations, map services that are available for children, to enable Young Carers to have easy access to all educational and well-being support on offer. 
  • Undertake an in-depth review of the wide range of support and social groups available to all ages of carers through the current Supporting Carers Service offer. Continue to provide these services in partnership with our contracted provider.  
  • Promote, more widely, the support available and the social groups that are available to all age carers. 
  • Provide Information & Advice which is clear, easily available, accessible, in one place and age appropriate for young carers. 
  • Offer support for Carer Health and Well-being.
  • Offer training, such as manual handling , or how to administer medication and understanding the social care system. 
  • Support our contracted Provider to better deliver Information and Advice services by working in partnership with them.
  • Co-produce information and advice services when recommissioning the Supporting Carers Service (current contract ends 30th September 2024), ensuring future services meet the expectations set out by Carers during the engagement sessions. 
  • Work with local VCSE sector organisations to explore the possibility of a one-stop shop for financial advice for Carers. Financial information, advice and support in one place was a “dream” scenario for carers attending the engagement workshops. The “dream” was described as a “Money Saving Expert (Martin Lewis) for carers.”  
  • Work with our contracted Provider and internal NNC services to ensure all related documentation is accessible online, and provide information in other formats as requested.
  • Produce an online directory of Carers Services available in North Northamptonshire in partnership with our contracted Provider and the VCSE. 
  • Work closely with the Northamptonshire Carers Partnership and the Integrated Care System (All Ages Carers Support Strategy 2023-2027), to understand the challenges faced by carers and the systems they encounter. Work together to make improvements across the Integrated Care System.  
  • Develop a Carers Portal, by working with internal NNC teams to explore the possibility of a dedicated Carers Portal through the NNC website, so that Carers can track their cared-for persons’, journey through Adult Social Care.  
  • Understand how Young Carers experience contact with professionals, and explore ways of how we can make improvements.