York carer invited to No.10 for Carers Week celebration

York carer, Ros Savege, was invited by mental health charity Rethink, to a reception at No.10 to mark Carers Week (5 – 11 June 2023). The event was hosted by Helen Whately, Minister for Social Care.

Ros said “I and Philippa Lowe (a fellow carer) were invited by Rethink to attend a reception at No10, which we accepted.

I travelled down to London on an early train and went to the new Rethink headquarters on the Embankment. Philippa and I were joined by Chief Executive, Mark Winstanley, and we travelled in a taxi to Downing Street.

Along with about 30 other carers and staff from various UK charities including the Carers’ Trust, Young Carers, MIND and Age UK, we walked along Downing Street and to the famous door, depositing all devices at the entrance. A slightly aged looking Larry the cat watched for a bit, flicked his tail, and then left.

The famous staircase with all the portraits took us up to a very plush and somewhat over the top red and gold state room (decorated to Margaret Thatcher’s specification – apparently).

The Minister and others schmoozed the room and chatted with us all briefly, as we consumed – as politely as possible – very nice canapés, fruit punch and tea. She spoke about the new requirement for the CQC to inspect councils etc. on their compliance with Care Act 2014, which requires services to value the wellbeing of carers equally with that of service users. She said how important we were! The Chair of the Carers’ Trust responded well.

We took photos as we left and I headed home. A good day but, as expected, more a nod towards positive parliamentary publicity for Carers’ Week than a real effort to find out what life as a carer is really like. That would have taken a good deal longer than the 1 hour 15 minutes allocated.”

Ros is a mental health carer and has lived experience of caring for someone with a mental health condition; her knowledge and support of York Carers Centre is invaluable. Ros attends a huge number of meetings locally aimed at improving mental health services and she campaigns with passion and dedication. It’s fantastic to see Carers being invited to No. 10 to have their voice heard, to help shape and improve support and services available to unpaid carers.