2023 was a busy and exciting year for Coaching for Unpaid Carers. Below are some of the highlights!
We trained staff to use coaching approaches in their work with carers
Carers Support West Sussex wanted to introduce new and more effective ways of working with their service users. They commissioned us to deliver a programme of training for their front-line staff in using coaching approaches in their work with their carer clients, together with some 1:1 coaching for carers. Between April 2022 and March 2023, we delivered 19 workshops to around 75 client-facing staff and their managers and 103 1:1 coaching sessions to 21 carers.
We were delighted to hear from staff participants how the training had helped them feel more confident and better equipped to start using coaching approaches in their work, and how they were excited about the potential benefits of this approach for empowering carers. The carers who received 1:1 coaching told us that because of the coaching they felt more able to do things or make changes that had felt impossible, to see things in different ways, and more confident about being able to act on their own goals and choices.
A team at the University of Kent evaluated our work- and the findings were overwhelmingly postive
The work we did with Carers West Sussex was externally evaluated by a team from Kent University, who presented their findings at a Carers Week event. They concluded that adopting a coaching approach allowed staff to work in a more collaborative, co- productive way with clients and also had the potential to improve the wellbeing and retention of staff themselves. In terms of the 1:1 coaching it was music to our ears to hear that: “There can be little doubt about the positive impact of coaching on carers lives and wellbeing…. Coaching has significant potential to improve the lives, wellbeing and health, particularly mental health, of more carers more of the time”.
We were able to offer more to working carers
According to Carers UK, carers make up 11% of the total UK workforce (1 in every 9 employees), and 75% of carers in employment worry about continuing to juggle work and care. Feeling understood and supported as a carer at work can be the difference between someone flourishing in their career or having to give up work or go part time in order to cope.
In the summer of 2022 we were commissioned by Nottingham University’s Carers Network to deliver a programme of workshops and coaching to their members who are working carers, and we continued to work with them in 2023. We delivered a programme of 4 workshops to around 40 participants, who told us that they felt better equipped to face the challenges they face at home and/or at work and particularly valued the opportunity we provided to meet and work with other working carers and learn new tools and strategies. We delivered 36 coaching sessions to 15 individuals who told us that the coaching had helped them to feel calmer and more hopeful, to communicate better and to be kinder to themselves, and most importantly, to feel able to carry on working and caring, and progress in their careers. They felt coaching should be offered more widely to working carers.
Also in 2023, we were approached by Wellness Cloud, a leading UK wellbeing support provider to provide specialist coaching and online support to working carers. We have provided online talks, Q&As and resources for working carers and their managers, we have run workshops on the topic of juggling work and care and have been running a peer support network and offering 1:1 coaching to carers from a wide range of companies.
Our work and our impact was recognised through an UnLtd Award
In July 2023 we heard that Coaching for Unpaid Carers had won a prestigious ‘Scaling Up’ award from UnLtd, an organisation which works with partners from both the public and private sectors to deliver social impact by harnessing the huge potential of social entrepreneurs to solve society’s biggest challenges. The highly competitive award comes with a year’s worth of funding as well as business support and mentoring from UnLtd to help Coaching for Unpaid Carers expand its reach and impact. This is an amazing opportunity for us to grow our business and expand our reach and we have been busy behind the scenes to make the most of the opportunity.
We worked with social prescribers for the first time
Over the summer of 2023 we were invited to take part in a pilot project exploring the possibility of expanding the reach and impact of social prescribing in Tower Hamlets. We feel that social prescribing has the potential to reach many hidden carers and link them with tailored support to sustain them in their caring role, and look forward to developing this referral route in future.
We expanded our team
As we continue to grow as an organisation it became apparent that we could benefit by expanding our team, and to this end we have have been building relationships with potential associate coaches and were delighted to welcome Joy Chaney as our first associate coach. Joy, like us is a trained coach with lived experience of being a carer, and she also brings experience of working with children and young people. We are actively seeking to collaborate with other coaches who bring a range of different backgrounds, lived experiences and language skills to be able to meet the needs of our diverse client group.