02 Jun 2023

Forward Carers join Asian Business Chamber as patrons


During Carers Week, not-for-profit organisation Forward Carers have become patrons of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) to create more awareness among businesses.

The Carers week is an annual event held during the first week of June to raise awareness and recognise family, friends and neighbours who provide unpaid care and help to someone who cannot cope without support.

Each year, 1.9 million workers in the UK take on an unpaid caring role supporting a family member or dependant who relies on them. And, every day, 600 employees give up work to carry out their caring responsibilities.

And those startling statistics has prompted a Forward Carers to work closely with companies in the region to provide guidance to employers and businesses so they can support Working Carers (staff who also juggle caring responsibilities). Making small adjustments to support Working Carers helps them, and it makes financial sense to retain skilled staff.

This month, government legislation is due to give carers the right to five days unpaid leave a year and has successfully passed its third reading in the House of Lords, meaning it is now just one step away from receiving Royal Assent and becoming law.

The?Carers Leave Bill 2022-23, is a Private Member 's Bill introduced by Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife Wendy Chamberlain.

The Bill would apply to anyone caring for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent or other dependant who has a long-term care need due to a disability, physical or mental health illness, old age or injury, that is likely to require at least three months of care.

This leave would be unpaid. The maximum duration of the leave and how and when it could be taken would be set by regulations, although the Bill would require the leave entitlement to be at least one week per year.

Simon Fenton, chief executive of Forward Carers, said: “One of the main reasons we decided to become a patron of the ABCC is to strengthen our link with businesses.

With the new legislation due to come in force it will be vital for businesses to understand what 's involved and how they can support Working Carers.

Our Carer Friendly Communities Workplace Programme helps employers to provide the right support for Working Carers so business can retain their best staff, reduce sickness absence and improve staff wellbeing. Employers who have policies in place to support Carers see improved service delivery, cost savings and increased productivity. ”

Anjum Khan, director of the ABCC, part of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), has also joined Forward Carers as a non-executive director.

The organisation 's mission is to create Carer Friendly Communities and has supported more than 40,000 carers since its inception in 2015. It has also issued over 4,000 Carer Friendly ID cards to people across England over the past three years. The photo ID card provides verified proof that the individual is an unpaid carer, it holds emergency contact details and it gives access to online support as well as hundreds of discounts.

Forward Carers is the lead delivery partner of Birmingham Carers Hub and Walsall Carers Hub where a range of advice and support is available to unpaid carers from each respective area.

Anjum said: “The reason for me joining this board is that as an unpaid carer, I tapped into support they were offering during Covid for my father.

“I had not realised that there is support available for people who fit under the bracket of 'unpaid carers '. ?

“In my role, I want to highlight the free support available to carers and raise awareness of the support available from Forward Carers to workplaces such as Corporate Carer Aware Training, the Carer Friendly Employer Commitment Mark and Carer Friendly Business Awards. ”

Click here for further information about the business benefits of supporting staff who are balancing work and a caring role along with access to support and training programmes.

A 10 per cent discount on Carer Aware Training will be available to Chamber members when booking during June and July 2023. Please quote your membership number when booking.

Pictured from left to right: Programme managers Anna Smith and Holly Pyke, director of ABCC Anjum Khan, ABCC president Omar Rashid, programme manager Georgina Koceli, project manager Bernie Hutchinson and Forward Carers CEO Simon Fenton