Story: Michelle Cook
Carers and professionals enjoyed an informative and fun day at the Roshni conference for carers in the BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) community at SADACCA on Saturday 24th April, celebrating 20 years in Sheffield.
Roshni is a local citywide organisation, they offer a variety of services to support women young and old within the South Asian community. Roshni means “light” in Urdu and Hindi
The day’s focus was on carers. They offer both emotional and practical help, for both elderly and young people. including trying to overcome the stigma of mental illness.
Dalveer Kaur, BME policy development officer from Carers UK said research has shown that carers in the UK saved the Treasury an estimated £119 billion in 2007, a figure which rises year on year. Mainly due to carers giving 24 hour care seven days a week for a weekly Carer’s Allowance of £53, a quarter of a million people juggle work and care, missing out on £750 million in wages.
BME carers often face specific challenges including:
• Stigma, particularly around mental illness and HIV
• Language and literacy, which impedes knowledge of entitlements
• Lack of culturally appropriate services
• Misconceptions, eg. they all have extended families who will do the caring
Nita Devabhai from the Afiya Trust, spoke about their Living On The Margins campaign, highlighting that there has been £3 billion cuts in funding in London alone.
Through national conferences and training for carers they aim to achieve a stronger voice for carers People spoke of their own personal experiences of being a carer.
The three workshops were lively discussions and people had the opportunity to share experiences and information. They were:
• Making self-directed support work for BME carers
• Hidden carers, how to find them
• BME communities’ access to mainstream services
There was an excellent networking lunch and the day proved a very valuable gathering.
Roshni Carers Support Service can be contacted on 0114 2508 898, firstname.lastname@example.org