· News

BT recognises carers' needs with training sessions

BT has launched a scheme to help carers cope with the demands of caring and their working life.

The company has teamed up with Omega, the National Association for End of Life Care, to give employees who look after someone the chance to make a positive difference to their lives and those of the people for whom they care.

After a successful pilot in Birmingham, BT has agreed to host four more Caring with Confidence support and skills sessions. Fourteen carers attended the free introductory Finding Your Way session in October. Caring with Confidence is part of the Department of Health's National Carers' Strategy.

Keith Edwards, a project director with BT, and a carer, said: "There is something for everyone in Caring with Confidence. Everyone at the session benefitted from the chance to meet others in a similar situation and find out more about the rest of the programme."

Helen Chipchase, BT's people & policy manager, disability & carers, added: "We are delighted to be able to offer employees across the country the opportunity to benefit from this important initiative. We understand the challenges carers face in balancing their responsibilities and this is one way in which we can help them to help themselves."

Staff in Wolverhampton, Manchester, Croydon and Ipswich will be the next to benefit from this opportunity, with other BT centres, including Shrewsbury, expected to follow suit in 2010.

Those carers who want to attend the full seven-session programme will be sign-posted to local providers. Trained facilitators provide support on a range of topics including financial advice, practical caring tips and general support. The sessions give carers the opportunity to meet other people in a similar position, share experiences and build friendships as well as providing them with useful, relevant information and know-how to further develop their skills and knowledge.