Nobody ever receives a job description when they become a
carer, it just happens. As a carer I have experienced the joy, the
pain and the frustration that many of us experience on a day
to day basis. Some become carers by choice, some of us just
simply don’t have a choice. Many of us lose the ability to make
choices, sacrificing our time, our freedom and identity.

In recognition of this we were approached by commissioners
in November 2014 who wanted to hear, first hand, about what
life is like as a carer. We spoke openly and honestly, telling
our stories. We asked for support and recognition of the
contribution we make to care and to be recognised as partners
in the process.

This kick-started a process which led to the document you are
reading. A document created, developed and now delivered by
carers which we as carers can use to hold organisations to
account, to set a minimum standard that all individuals can
expect, and to give us the tools to ensure we can continue to
fulfil our caring roles.

This Carers Charter was developed by proactive and extensive
engagement taking the Charter to many carers for their views
and having many discussions with professionals about how
Health and Social Care services can make things better for us.
Portia and I would like to thank all the carers who gave their
time and energy to make this happen. We passionately believe
this can make a real difference to the people of Kirklees,
generating real, impactful change and ensuring that the spirit
of this Charter is put into real action.

Portia Roberts-Popham
Carer and
Chief Executive Officer,
Investors in Carers

There was no specific date when I became a carer.
I was a mother looking after a child diagnosed with Sickle
Cell Disease at the age of three months old. I was also
working full time trying to establish a career.

Our life would be changed from that moment onwards. My career wouldbe characterised by having to take time off to deal with
emergency hospital admissions, and annual leave taken to
support her at home as she recovered from each crisis. I
therefore understand the challenges working carers face, and
I particularly appreciate the emotional and physical impact
that caring can have on an individual.

Yet I never sought recognition as a Carer.

What often defined my relationship with health and service
providers was a failure by some to understand the issues faced
by my family and critically to not acknowledge the expertise
and knowledge about her condition I had built up over 30
years. Developing this charter gives me the opportunity
to share in creating something that will not only challenge
service providers to deliver what we need, but identify and
promote best practice.

I am a Carer (and would do it all a gain in a heartbeat).
I am really positive about how much can be achieved
through collaboration. The Charter provides opportunities
for organisations to work in partnership with Carers to create
tangible changes leading to improved outcomes.

Fatima Khan-Shah
Carer and
Chief Executive Officer,
Investors in Carers