This short blog is written by Nisha Frizzell, employer engagement officer working on the Working Potential programme at GMCVO. Nisha is due to leave GMCVO on Tuesday 30th April. Until the new employer engagement officer is in post, please get in touch with our contracts officer, email@example.com for more information or to register your interest in supporting the programme.
Earlier on this year I met with Christine Baldwin, Asda Community Champion at Astley Bridge Bolton, who was supporting us with our research. As a result of our meeting Christine decided to ask the colleague voice representatives if they thought having Carer Champions in the workplace would be a good idea and they all agreed that it would. Christine is now the first Carer Champion and is in the process of setting up a meeting with staff to identify their needs. Christine says that “I feel that it is important to set up a carers champion at the Bolton store as a caring employer. This will give colleagues additional support by sign posting them to the correct agencies. Also we will create a small forum for colleagues, [with caring responsibilities], to be able to share and discuss the problems that they are encountering in an inclusive caring environment. Sometimes it is the little things that count, just being able to talk and have someone to listen.”
I also met with Roni from Salford Arts Theatre, who informed me that as a small organisation they could offer a degree of flexibility not offered by larger theatres. “We’re quite flexible on many levels but I think that’s the nature of the beast. It’s the nature of creativity, you have to be flexible really just because of the industry we work in.” Roni felt that there were constraints that may not apply to larger theatres, for example smaller theatres can’t afford understudies so actors and technicians have to be able to commit to performance and final rehearsal dates and times. All of the staff at Salford Arts theatre work flexibly, some balance caring responsibilities and other jobs too, but Roni feels that being a supportive employer has a benefit of increased loyalty from staff: “You do a better job in a way, if you feel that you’re supported and I think that goes for anybody [not just carers]. If you get that positive support from your employer then you feel like you would go out of your way [for them].”