Carer Voice commenced in 2015 when the PhD student Rachael contacted Sheffield Mencap & Gateway to enquire if they could contact some carers of persons with Learning Disabilities (LD) who would be willing to work with her on research about LD carers.

Eventual 3 carers came forward Kate, Jude and Chris and they met regularly with Rachael at the University of Sheffield Department of Human Communication Sciences and agreed at the outset that all aspects of this research would be conducted using the concept of Co-production.

Through discussions which were recorded by Rachael and then after analysing by Rachael, the findings were brought back to the next meeting.

After lengthy discussions it was decided by all 4 of the people in this research to proceed on the basis of Communication between LD Carers and Service Providers and also Service Providers and LD Carers.

Again after some discussions it was decided to produce 2 surveys, one for LD Carers and the other for Service Providers. These were eventually created on Survey Monkey. All aspects of these 2 surveys were conducted using Co-production and the 2 surveys contained a question which required the input of the postcode of the person completing the survey. This was so we could analyse separately those referring to Sheffield, UK and those for the rest of the UK.

The findings from the returned surveys were analysed  and Carer Voice created a presentation which was presented at the Sheffield Central Fire Station on Friday 20 October 2017 to 20 LD Carers and 20 representatives of Service Providers. As well as the presentation we asked for the attendees to form round 6 tables and the LD Carers and Service Provider reps were allocated places so that each of the 6 tables had an equal mix of Service providers and LD Carers. Each table was presented with a question (which had be obtained from the completed surveys) for them to consider. Some questions related to LD Carers and others to Service Providers. This was so we could have further research evidence to progress Carer Voice to a final conclusion.

These findings from the Carer Voice event were again analysed and Carer Voice eventually, again using Co-production, produced some documents that Carer Voice believed would enhance communications between LD Carers and Service Providers.

While we believed this would be so, we could not be certain, so we used the drafts of these documents to meet separately with representatives of  Sheffield City Council Adult Social Care and Commissioners, then representatives of some Care agencies and then representatives of Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). All were very welcoming of the various documents and while they did offer some slight amendments they were willing to trial these documents. The CCG wished to run these documents with their ‘For Pete’s Sake’ campaign.

The CCG also offered a 15 minutes presentation slot in their ‘Assistive Technology’ event on Thursday 26 June 2018 at Sheffield Hallam University Collegiate Campus. Carer Voice readily accepted this offer and Chris attended the event and presented the presentation.

Chris is still around and can be contacted on carervoice@gmail.com


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