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 Carers Make a Difference at Home and at Work

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​DUNTON - The Employee Resource Group Ford U.K. Carers Network held a Diversity event over an extended lunchtime period in Dunton on Tuesday, March 6.
Ford U.K. Carers Network aims to Go Further and offer support/advice and share the problems of those working at Ford who face caring for relatives (young/old, disabled/non-disabled), including those whose caring role has recently come to an end and to raise awareness of carers’ issues in order to influence change within the company.
The group's Diversity event kicked off with Carers Network member Chris Crook providing rough estimates behind the potential cost to the company globally if Carers had to leave due to the pressures of caring outside of work. 
Some additional facts shared included:
•  1 in 10 people are thought to be Carers.
• 400,000 people (employees/agency) work at Ford globally, so that's 40,000 carers !
• 70 percent of Carers will give up work because of their caring responsibilities so that is potentially 28,000 people that we would need to replace.
• Replacing a person costs ~£10,000 (if you include the time it can take to pick-up previous person's knowledge, skills etc.) so that could result in an additional global cost to the company of £280 million / $441 million.
• That's why it’s worthwhile for the company to go further and make extra effort to retain as many of these workers as possible who are Carers.
Following Cooks presentation, a short video from Carers U.K. was shown outlining how many companies see financial benefits from supporting their workers who are Carers. (To view, click here)  
An additional presentation was given by Amber Payne, the HR manager for Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust, who had recently won Best U.K. Employer for Carers in 2011 from Working Families. She told the group about a number of initiatives her company was using to enable Carers to balance the working and Caring Responsibilities.
These included:
• A Carers guide for management
• A Carers guide for staff
• Events organised and financed by HR for Carers, in particular workers on maternity leave, and those with children who have special needs. This informal setting gave everyone the chance to openly discuss any issues about the parents ability to cope with work or their changing needs on returning to work.
• Flexible working
• AID emergency leave for Carers
Lorraine Goldberg, the executive director from Carers of Barking & Dagenham, also presented. What grabbed may at the event's attention, was the training they supplied to support Carers on a huge number of topics, from finance to understanding dementia. They also physically and emotionally support Carers in their local area and provide referrals to other support agencies throughout Essex.
The final presentation was from Julia Brutnell, an outreach support worker from the Alzheimers Society of Basildon & Brentwood. She gave a simple to understand overview of the disease, explaining a little about the damage dementia causes to the persons brain and how that can affect a person’s life, behaviour and character. It offered some understanding about the condition and its effects on those in the role of caring for them, the challenges they face as well as the support and help available.
A podcast was made available for those of that couldn’t make the event.
Ford U.K. Carers Network plans to have a number of follow-up events including nutritional advice, financial advice for carers, WorkSmart and meditation techniques for reducing stress.  To register for one of these events or to join the Ford U.K. Carers Network, click here.
3/26/2012 6:00 AM