Carers Charter made official
New Carers Charter becomes official at FVC
A new Carers Charter has been created at Forth Valley College promoting a culture that recognises carers and their needs and helps them to remain in education.
FVC Principal Dr Ken Thomson officially signed the Charter, which was the brainchild of the Forth Valley Student Association and supported by Carers Trust Scotland, Stirling Carers Centre and FVC’s Student Services Team, at the Stirling Campus on Wednesday 21 February.
A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. The new charter highlights how FVC values the vital work done by carers and is committed to working with them to help them continue with their education.
Kirsty McCallum (18) is a Workstart student from Stirling. She looks after her brother who is paralysed from the waist down. She helps to cook, clean, do the washing, household chores and lots more stuff. Kirsty nearly had to give up college as looking after her brother was a higher priority.
She said: “I thought I might have to leave college, but managed to keep myself going to the end of it. A few lecturers and others at FVC knew about me being a carer and they have supported me through this.
“I think the Carers Charter is good. The FV Student Association and FVC Student Support Services might be able to help to sort things out and support you through it. I would recommend the support services on offer to other students as they can give you the chance of support and help. I would now like to become a carer for other people or become a dog walker.”
FVC Principal Dr Ken Thomson, said: “I am delighted to officially endorse our new Carers Charter and would like to congratulate the Forth Valley Student Association and the college’s Student Services team – in partnership with Carers Trust Scotland and Stirling Carers Centre – for bringing it altogether.
“We know how difficult it can be for carers to balance studying at college and caring for a loved one and we want them to know that we do all we can to help them make it through to the end of their courses here at Forth Valley College.”
Amy Scobbie Vice President of the FV Student Association, said: “After experiencing various challenges in my caring role with my parents, both as a student and a Vice President with the Student Association, it’s really positive to see the college recognising the challenges this role can bring. We have made improvements to best support our student carers, by putting actions to our mission statement and truly making learning work for everyone.”
Paul Traynor, Policy and Campaigns Officer Carers Trust Scotland, said: “We know that students who are carers are four times more likely to drop out of college or university than students who are not carers. This Charter is a great step forward in preventing that from happening at Forth Valley College, and we welcome its implementation.”
May Kirkwood, Manager of the Stirling Carers Centre, said: “Carers must be recognised and supported to ensure that they are able to continue caring whilst accessing education and that being an unpaid carer is not detrimental to the opportunities presented to them.
“We are willing to support Forth Valley College, when able, in formalising support structures for both students and staff who are unpaid carers.”
Through the charter the college aims to:
- Identify carers as early as possible
- Show a positive and enabling attitude to learners who are carers
- Ensure staff have information and training about supporting carers in education
- Ensure the role of carers is valued by all staff and will make sure we respect, listen to and understand carers and what they do.
- Work with our local carers centre to support carers within the college and ensure learners with caring commitments are offered appropriate support and information.
The college is committed to making sure that carers, are informed of their right to have an Adult Carers Support Plan or Young Carers Statement (under the Carers Scotland Act 2016), providing information about the range of support and advice services available and to making sure that its policies demonstrate a college wide culture that is supportive to carers.
If you are a student and a carer and need more information, please ask about our support for carers and let your Curriculum Manager know you are a carer too.
Speak to a Learner Advisor/or another member of the Student Services Team about support available. The Student Services Team is located near the main entrance of all our campuses. Please ask reception staff for directions.