HoW College Achieves Quality Standard in Carers Support
13 August 2021
Heart of Worcestershire College (HoW College) recently achieved Quality Standard in Carers Support (QSCS), as part of the Driving Change project in partnership with Carers Federation Limited and Learning and Work Institute. HoW College decided to take part in the project in order to further enhance their support for young adult carers and elevate the provisions in place for students within the community.
A young adult carer is anyone aged 16-25, that helps care for a family member, partner or friend who is disabled, physically or mentally ill, has a long-term serious illness, or has a substance misuse problem. As stated by Carers Federation Limited, it’s therefore easy to see that young carers can be affected by the impact of juggling their caring role with other responsibilities such as employment and education. Carers Federation Limited also state:
“The practical and emotional implications of a caring role can be both stressful and demanding, the reality for many carers is that they may neglect their own needs. Some carers: experience poor health, may disengage from education or leave employment.”
As a result, the QSCS was developed by carers to provide accreditation and training, with the intention (as outlined by Carers Federation Limited) to ‘help raise awareness, remove some of the barriers for carers, develop appropriate policies and procedures and improve access to support.’
Speaking on behalf of the College, Head of Support and Wellbeing and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, Sal Friel, shared:
“At Heart of Worcestershire College, we are proud of the support we offer our learners, giving them opportunities to succeed. When asked to take part in the Driving Change Project to work towards the Quality Standard in Carers Support, we jumped at the chance.
Working with our Young Carers has been really insightful, and they have directly influenced the support on offer here at Heart of Worcestershire College. It was a privilege to hear their lived experiences and how the changes that we have implemented have positively impacted on their lives. I would like to say a special thank you to Millie Clarke, who is our Young Carers Lead, as she driven this project forward with passion and enthusiasm, championing our Young Carers.
We would encourage any of our learners who have caring responsibilities, to contact Millie on firstname.lastname@example.org.”
From the Carers Federation Limited QSCS report, it was identified that at HoW College ‘There is clear evidence of the college’s commitment to supporting YACs, with good cross-college communication and
partnership working. The College has developed creative initiatives such as its staff training and bespoke staff posters to embed understanding and awareness throughout the college.’ As part of the QSCS report, HoW College students also reported the following:
“The fact that the College has been so supportive in putting measures in place that allow me to balance the responsibilities I have in regards to my caring and also my college work allows me to keep working towards the goals I aspire to achieve.”
“Before I knew about the College young carers group, I felt very isolated and that no one really understood how I felt. Then, I was put in contact with the group and Millie; I felt like someone listened to me and made sure I was ok. They offer emotional support and ask about how my college assignments are and everything else about my life; it makes me feel like I am my own person and not just a carer.
Within a week the College had arranged for me to get some external support for when I finish college, and when I asked some questions about the application, they quickly got me some answers to reassure me. This made me feel less anxious about finishing college and that someone is helping me. It made me happy to know things will be ok.
The college offer a group teams call weekly to allow carers to talk to each other, which helps reduce my isolation. They also offer staff training to help teachers and staff notice the signs and offer help too, which is needed. This is great because being a carer you don’t always realise how much you do until someone else notices. With there being posters around college it helps promote awareness for people who think they might be carers, and for people who aren’t, they can help their friends who might be. College also send out emails to promote awareness for young carers week and other helpful links for people to follow. All of this made me feel so grateful that the College offers this service and how much it has helped me, whether that be with my emotions or the motivation to finish my college work. Without Millie and the young Carers group I wouldn’t have had the determination to finish college as I felt so isolated.”
The HoW College key values of ‘promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity through inclusive practice’, along with ‘placing the interests of students at the heart of all college activities’, are the driving forces behind progression and development at the College. As well as actively seeking new opportunities to elevate college provisions through projects such as QSCS accreditation, HoW College also have excellent support provisions through the means of the Wellbeing teams, Support for Success teams, High Needs Support provisions and much more.
To find out more about HoW College and how students are supported throughout their studies, visit: www.howcollege.ac.uk/student-life/student-support/www.howcollege.ac.uk