By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
Charity staff are hoping that a new programme will help them to get a head start in improving their services for carers.
The new mentoring programme aims to bring business leaders into services for carers so they can use their expertise to help the services to thrive and grow.
Leaders in the worlds of industry, pharmaceuticals, nursing, social care and the public sector are among those who have already joined the programme and volunteered to mentor the services supported by Carers Trust, the UK’s largest charity for carers.
The scheme, known as the ADVANCE programme, has been so successful that more mentors are now being sought to bring their skills to the 15 services on the waiting list. The plan is to recruit mentors for 50 services by 2015.
Rosemary Hawkins, Head of Programmes and Quality Assurance at Carers Trust, said:
“We’re thrilled with the calibre of the entrants we’ve recruited so far – now we want to see more of the best in their field put themselves forward for this rewarding role.
“The kinds of people who have come on board so far have been creative, forward thinking and up for a challenge. By bringing a wealth of new skills in areas such as service growth, finance and long-term planning, mentors are using their skills to help services think and act differently, which has given both parties a huge sense of satisfaction.”
For example, two London services are working together and having a shared annual board meeting as well as doing joint marketing for their services.
There are currently 11 mentors working with 20 services in England and Wales, but Carers Trust is hoping to widen its scope throughout England and Wales and roll out the programme in Scotland.
Hilary Samson-Barry, lead ADVANCE mentor, said: “The ADVANCE programme is helping services and their leaders to focus on priorities that will sustain and grow their services for carers, and it is also proving beneficial to the mentors, as it is stretching them to apply their skills in a new area, while also helping to make a big difference.”
Mentors give their time free of charge, but the value to Carers Trust and the services is £800,000 per year. Mentors go through a rigorous selection process and if successful need to commit to 10 days over a 12-month period.
The programme is supported through charitable donations and is continuing to fundraise to expand into more of the UK.
For more information visit – ADVANCE programme.