News

Dementia campaigner, Tommy Whitelaw, comes to Essex to raise profile of carers’ needs

13 October 2015

Healthwatch Essex is hosting Tommy Whitelaw, a tireless campaigner for carers, for a speaking tour of hospitals, care providers and carers groups in Essex from 13 to 15 October.

The Dementia Carer Voices’ ‘You can make a difference’ campaign, that Tommy has taken around the country, calls on health and social care professionals to reflect on the lived experience of people affected by dementia, and identify actions they can take back and apply to their everyday practice to improve the ways that they care for people living with dementia and their carers.

Tommy cared for his mum, Joan, who had dementia, but what Tommy experienced and relays in his talk, speaks to all carers. In Essex, an estimated 145,000 people provide care and support for someone else who needs help with their day-to-day life. Of these, about 32,000 are estimated to provide care for more than 50 hours a week.

Through the Carer’s Journey project, Healthwatch Essex is bringing Tommy and the ‘You can make a difference’ campaign to Essex for a series of talks at hospitals, carers groups and to students at Anglia Ruskin University.

Tommy said of the tour: “I’m really excited that Dementia Carers Voices is working with Healthwatch Essex on their Carer’s Journey tour of Essex. It’s so great to be able to build relationships with other people to help spread the word and improve the experiences of carers and the people they care for.”

The tour also aims to highlight the importance of listening to the lived experience of carers, to give carers the opportunity to speak out about the barriers they face, and to understand what impact the Care Act 2014 has had to date.

Chief Executive Officer of Healthwatch Essex, Dr Tom Nutt, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing Tommy and Dementia Carer Voices’ ‘You can make a difference’ campaign to Essex for three days, visiting a number of different organisations.

“Tommy’s story is really powerful, and highlights the importance and value of listening to people’s lived experience of services in order to find ways to improve them.”

You can keep track of the Carer’s Journey tour on Twitter by following @tommyNtour, @HWEssex and #HWEDCV.