Last week, Carr Gomm’s Falkirk Service was delighted to welcome Gillian MacKay, MSP, to their office. Gillian met with Carr Gomm staff, including CEO Lucy Wren, Operations Manager Mavis Kelly and Senior Operations Manager Paul Marshall, to discuss the work Carr Gomm does in Falkirk and the future of social care.
The meeting took place in the Falkirk Office on Hope Street, which, Gillian learned, regularly plays host to various social events and activities. Mavis explained: ‘Everyone in Falkirk likes a sing-along.’ And so, the events are a great chance to unite people across the community.
The Falkirk service supports over 100 people and provides over 3,000 hours of support each week. One of the more unique services Falkirk offers is the Responder Service.
Gillian was told about how the Responder Service provides overnight support where and when needed. The service allows people to stay in their homes and feel comfortable and safe, knowing support is there if required. Gillian commented that the service is an excellent asset to the area as it reduces reliance on support from relatives or the NHS and gives peace of mind to families and the people supported.
Gillian was shown an example of the support Carr Gomm provides through the Involvement Film. The film is about Cameron – Cameron is a young gentleman we support, and because Cameron doesn’t use traditional communication skills, his team have developed ways to provide person-centred support using other cues and communication methods. The film highlights how critical person-centred care is to individuals as it gives them freedom in their lives. Lucy emphasised that providing unique and individualised care is an essential part of all Carr Gomm services because every person supported has their own needs, wants and likes and deserves to live a life that makes them happy, whatever that may be.
A key part of the discussion was the issue with media perception of social care and the issue around pay. Being a Support Practitioner is a highly skilled job that is often undervalued and underappreciated. Mavis detailed how Carr Gomm Support Practitioners are often trained in areas that District Nurses are not, and Lucy noted how organisations like Carr Gomm provide the foundations of the wider health and social care system, providing care and support out with hospitals.
Lucy emphasised the urgency of following through on the Government’s commitment to paying £12 to care staff.
Gillian made it clear she intends to push for the £12 minimum wage for Support Practitioners to come into effect and agreed it was not enough for the work that they do when compared to NHS pay grades.
The conversation around the National Care Service was largely positive and hopeful that changes would occur. Lucy, however, stressed the importance of continuing an open dialogue and keeping Carr Gomm involved in the discussion to ensure progress is made that will positively impact staff and people supported throughout Scotland.
Before Gillian left, she had the chance to meet Donna, a person supported by the Falkirk team. Donna was delighted to share with Gillian a video of her performance from the Carr Gomm Festival, where she performed a Boyzone track, and shared her favourite moments from the performances.
The Carr Gomm Festival, Gillian heard, was an event that celebrated Carr Gomm’s 25th birthday with over 300 people from across the organisations, as well as with friends and family.
The entire Falkirk team would like to thank Gillian MacKay for taking the time to visit the Service.