I grew up as a young carer and experienced first-hand the lack of support available for people and the inequalities in care in terms of mental health. As an adult I experienced this again when my father required support and the services were inflexible and did not take into account my father’s needs in relation to dementia.
This led me to a career in the care sector and I became a self-employed PA and joined the Care and Wellbeing CIC in Perthshire. Supporting people to maintain their independence had a big impact on my life and I feel privileged to have met so many wonderful people. They helped me understand the importance of respect, dignity, fairness, safety, independence, equality and freedom of choice. Eventually I become one of the directors of the Care and Wellbeing CIC, which was funded via LEADER, SiRD, SSE and CIF. The care and Wellbeing CIC recently took on GrowBiz for all internal workings, meaning the organisation has been able to focus on growing the membership and currently has 50 care and well-being professionals.
The result has been that small rural communities have become self-sufficient in care when no registered care providers wanted to cover the area. This allowed me to build connections within social work, health professionals, Scottish Government, Inspiring Scotland and various third sector organisations. I have been interested in the national review of care and have concerns about centralisation going forward.
For the last year or so I have worked with Support Choices as a Community worker; an independent SCIO, funded by the Scottish Government SiRD, which was previously a project between Outside the Box and The Care and Well-being CIC. Support Choices provides information and advice around self-directed support and helps people get the care and support they need.
People tell me I am good at networking and a champion of equality issues in care. I am passionate about the importance of personalised care which is outcome based and support the person to live life as they choose, ensuring it is about what is important to them (especially in relation to palliative care and dementia). My work shows the importance I put on collaborative working across the statutory and third sectors in Health and Social Care.
In my spare time I volunteer for Home Start and the local community larder food bank.