Aiming to Make Dorset Carer Friendly

Forward Carers is an award-winning not-for-profit, Community Interest Company and we are on a mission to create Carer Friendly Communities nationally, including the regions of Dorset. We want workplaces, shops, services, and communities to play their part in being more understanding of unpaid Carers, and how they can make their lives a little bit easier. Our aim is to increase the community’s consideration for Carers so that they are valued and supported in all areas of their life and work.

We are commissioned by Dorset Council and Bournemouth Christchurch Poole Council to deliver the official Carer ID Card and discount scheme to Carers registered with their local Carer Information Service. Carers often give up work or reduce their working hours to provide support to a family member or close friend which inevitably reduces their income. When businesses offer a discount or provide some other benefit or perk to Carers, it can make a real difference. It can make meeting a friend for coffee more affordable and provides the Carer with a little bit of ‘me time’ and a break from the demands of caring.

Introducing Rachel Close
Rachel Close has been appointed by Forward Carers as Project Manager to lead on the implementation of the Carer Friendly ID Card for Carers in Dorset. Rachel will continue the legacy of My Carers Card run by Julie and Peter England to support local businesses who already provide a deal or reward for Carers.

Rachel will also be striving to identify and build new relationships with local businesses and organisations to create meaningful offers, opportunities and discounts for Carers who present their Carer Friendly ID Card. Forward Carers and Rachel will work in partnership with the local authorities, regional businesses, community Carer services and groups, in the hope that we can create a Carer Friendly Dorset.

Rachel can relate to both Carers and to local businesses. Rachel supports her adult stepson who has learning difficulties and Autism and she also runs a business in Bournemouth with her husband.

Rachel said, “We have been business owners for over a decade, so we understand the responsibilities this brings, and I can relate to other business owners as I am no stranger to the challenges, lifestyle and benefits managing a business can bring.”

She added, “We are looking to expand our provision to Carers but currently our private school of classical art offers Carers with flexibility. If Carers can’t attend class due to caring responsibilities or their own health needs, we provide an alternative replacement class or discount their next term for classes they were absent. We also offer flexible payment plans that work with their financial arrangements.” 

“Most of my professional life has been spent working with Carers in schools, within local authority family support and voluntary sector/community groups. Carers views, realities and wellbeing has always been in the heart of my work. I’m looking forward to bringing all my experience to this role and helping to shape Dorset into being Carer Friendly.”

Rachel works part time (Monday and Thursday 9am – 4pm and Tuesday and Wednesday 9am – 12 noon) and can be reached via email or by calling 07572790211.

During Rachel’s non-working times, contact Rachel would love to hear from businesses in Dorset who would like to offer their support to unpaid Carers and from Carers themselves who would like to suggest a business they would like Rachel to approach on their behalf.