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NCF members amplify the voices of people in receipt of care and support as they Speak Up For Care 

The National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading association for not-for-profit social care has worked with its not-for-profit members to amplify the voices of older people, people with learning disabilities and autistic people throughout the General Election campaign. 

Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of NCF said: “All too often the voices of people receiving care and support are not heard. They are referred to in terms of numbers and data, but they are very rarely approached for their individual opinions, experiences and thoughts and this is something we wanted to challenge by encouraging them to speak up for care. Through our members we have been able to share what people in receipt of care and support think of the parties’ election manifesto promises, what they want from the next government and what social care means to them. 

NCF members have empowered residents and the people they support to take part in the election by helping them to vote. For example, Royal Star & Garter arranged for postal votes for many of their veteran residents in several of their homes.

One of those residents is Yvonne who said: “It’s important for me to vote so that my voice is heard. I don’t know if I’d have been able to do this without the help of staff here at Royal Star & Garter, so I’m very grateful to them.” 

In addition, Oaklea Trust, empowered by the My Vote My Voice campaign interviewed two of the young people they support, Matt and Sally, who are voting for the first time this year. Matt said: “Voting gives people the right to voice their opinion on how the country should be run and who it should be run by.” 

Brandon Adventurers are a group of people supported by NCF members, Brandon Trust. The group have paid roles to advocate for people with learning disabilities and autistic people and work on various co-production activities and outsourced contracts as consultants with lived experience. The group met recently to discuss the four main parties’ election manifestos and shared their thoughts with us. A few of their comments were: 

Liberal Democrats: “Although they say they will help people get better mental health care it doesn’t tell us how – we struggle to get better mental health help. Free personal care – this is good, just like we said before. Every party should do this. We like the paying staff more – we would like to know how much they will pay them” 

Conservatives: “We like the idea of the care charge caps but we would like to know what the caps are. We like the idea about people being at the heart of their care – this was really good and we felt they were the only party to touch on this.” 

Greens: “We love that people will receive personal care for free – that’s how it should be. People shouldn’t be expected to pay for that sort of thing. We love this. They should give it to us for free, we don’t like having it but we have to! I have to ask a member of staff to help me use the toilet as I can’t, I shouldn’t have to pay for this, it’s not my fault.” 

Labour: “We think seeing family should be just a normal thing rather than part of a manifesto. It should just be a right that everyone gets.  We don’t like the wording disabled. We are unique! It is important there is a separation between healthcare and our support, we don’t want support workers that are also healthcare workers. Social care is different.” 

Community Integrated Care also run ‘Voice Groups’ where people they support are encouraged to share their important feedback, expertise and experience. Linda, from St Helens attends one of the groups said: “It’s important for me to vote so I can have a say on what our money goes towards and to make sure that there’s enough support for people with disabilities. I want the next government to make everywhere more accessible and to make our health care better.” 

Another person who wanted to who shared their views was Isaac Samuels who employs Personal Assistants to support him.  During his video interview, Isaac told us: “Social care enables me to live at home, not be that ‘revolving door’ kind of patient, it enables me to have really good health and wellbeing, including mental health, it enables me to have a loving relationship, to work which is really important to me, but most of all it enables me to have a sense of purpose and belonging.  

“So, without that support I wouldn’t be able to be connected, I wouldn’t be able to be employed, I wouldn’t be able to make a difference and having a sense of purpose and belonging is important to every human being regardless of your support needs.” 

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