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The sector coming together

Karolina Gerlich, CEO and Founding Director, National Association of Care & Support Workers Ltd

This year we, at the National Association of Care & Support Workers, are organising the second Professional Care Workers’ Day on the 4th of September.

I hope that many of you have committed to taking part; if not, there is still time.

Raising the profile of care work and social care sector is one of our main objectives. Social care, very unfortunately and unfairly, gets mostly negative press and we are working hard towards reframing these negative perceptions.

Professional Care Workers’ Day is one day a year – a special day – when we want to shine a light on all things positive in the sector, especially on the amazing work that care workers do every day.

I have been a care worker now for 12 years and I am faced daily with disrespect, demeaning comments and dismissive attitudes, from other health and social care professionals, family, friends and wider society. It is going to be a lot of hard work to change people’s perceptions but I believe that we are moving forward.

The support NACAS has received this year to make the day special has been amazing. A variety of companies have offered to sponsor the event. Major sector stakeholders and influencers are supporting the day, and many are also speaking at the London event.

Tech companies, even competitors, are pulling together to run a workshop to alleviate anxieties around digital technologies in social care. Specialist such as dieticians, massage therapists, psychological therapists and sector consultants are giving talks and workshops that can support the well-being of care workers. We have a partner from a legal company volunteering his time to manage our raffle, managers ushering people about and CEOs putting together equipment. The Care Quality Commission will also have a stand on the day to listen to worries and issues that care workers have first-hand, and Skills for Care will be doing the same around training needs. It is the most amazing coming-together of the sector that I have seen and I am very grateful for all of the help.

We believe that for care workers to deliver care with dignity and respect, they must be treated with dignity and respect. When their views are valued and where their well-being is an integral part of business and strategy planning, the best results we all hope for can be achieved.

On the 4th of September, we are also launching our second report on the well-being of care workers. This report will establish a tradition, of Professional Care Workers’ Day as a day of reflection and appreciation for all care and support workers. The report shows the financial, psychological and physical struggles and issues that many care workers face every day. We hope that this report will propel the sector into greater efforts to look after care workers themselves, ensuring that year-on-year responses to this research become more positive and hopeful.

I want to thank everybody taking part and supporting the day. I hope that next year the whole country will be involved.

I am also asking and challenging us all: to do better; to fight more for funding for social care; to better-promote positive stories about care work; and, most of all, to try harder to look after care workers and ensure they feel valued for not just one but every day of the year.

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