Carers' Network

Caring for somebody who is elderly, disabled or ill can be very stressful and demanding.  It can sometimes help to talk to others who are in a similar situation.  For this reason, the Equality and Diversity Team has established a Carers’ Network bringing together staff who are balancing work with caring for an ill, elderly, or disabled family member, friend or partner.

The Carers' Network provides working carers with the opportunity to come together and share experiences, and to join free events and talks on particular topics. The network includes a mailing list which is used to publicise events, share information and for members to contact others to discuss issues, ask questions and arrange informal meet ups.

We are always happy for new members to sign up. If you would like to join please email uob-carers-network@bristol.ac.uk

Upcoming events

Network Relaunch

The Carers' Network will relaunch on Thursday 23rd March 2017 at 10.00am in the Brambles Dining Room

You are warmly invited by the new co-chairs Wendy Merchant and Selena Power for refreshments and to propose what YOU would like to gain from the network in the future.

For those existing members of the Carers' Network, we acknowledge that you will have attended one of these events before, but by relaunching the network which is now chaired by carers for carers, we hope to bring events both social and informative to the network - but we need to know what type of events would benefit you the most.

Some ideas to consider may be:

• You wish to meet informally on a regular basis for refreshments to chat with other people in similar positions just to know you are not the only person juggling a busy work and home life balance.

• Having guest speakers to talk to the Carers Network in pre-arranged meetings - previous events have included: Staff Counselling, Dealing with Dementia, Caring for a child with disability or long term illness, Looking after me sessions.

• Looking at how the University identifies a "Carer" and how they support their employees (flexible working patterns/how line managers can support carers in the workplace/car parking).

This event is open to everybody whether you are an existing member or a new carer (you do not need to be recognised by the Government or Benefit Agency as a carer to join the Carers' Network). If you care for someone outside of University working hours and are interested in meeting others in a similar position - we would like to hear from you.

So that we know how many people to cater for, please let Selina or Wendy know if you'd like to attend including any support or dietary requirements that you have.


Previous events

Looking after me!

A workshop for working parents and carers

Tuesday 13th December 2016 11:45 – 12:45 (join from 11:30 for coffee and mince pies!)

with Peter Robbins, University of Bristol Staff Counselling Service

As a parent or carer you spend a lot of time thinking about and looking after others. Inevitably you sometimes have to put your own needs aside to do what is necessary for those you care for. But it’s not good if your own needs are never considered. That can affect your own wellbeing which in turn can affect the care you give to others. We do need to give some attention to ourselves as well! This session will look specifically at how your caring role impacts on you and those you care for. It will be a practical session with lots of tips and ideas about where you might be able to get more support for yourself, particularly if your time is limited by your caring responsibilities. Topics covered will include:

• The practical and physical impact of being a carer

• The psychological effects of caring

• Balancing conflicting demands

• Sources of help, support and advice

It’s not a lecture! We’ll be looking at your own and other people’s experiences to help you build a toolkit so you can look after yourself as you carry on doing your amazing work as a parent or carer!

Places are limited, please contact christina.harris@bristol.ac.uk if you'd like to book including any support requirements.


  • Do you juggle work and caring for an ill, elderly, or disabled person?: On Wednesday 15th June 2016 we will be joined by staff from the The Carers Support Centre who can provide practical solutions to help you manage work and your caring role.
  • The session will start at 12noon with a 30 minute group talk on the support that is available from the Centre and the wider community. After the talk there will be an opportunity to share a light lunch with other attendees. If required, there will then be 15-20 minute sessions on a one to one basis to privately and confidentially discuss your personal circumstances in more detail. The bookable sessions are available at the following times: 13:00, 13:20 and 13:40pm.

    Please contact Christina Harris if you would like to attend either the talk and/or the private sessions along with any details of support or dietary requirements that you may have. If you are unable to attend on this date then individual sessions can be arranged at another time.


      Staff network events are provided by the University for the benefit of staff members and as such individuals should be allowed reasonable time off to attend, as would be the case for training events. In turn, individuals are expected to combine attendance with a lunch break where possible and only attend events that are relevant to them and their circumstances.

      Places on some events are limited so booking is required; you will normally be advised of locations once your place is confirmed. Any queries or access requirements should be directed to christina.harris@bristol.ac.uk


      Ideas Swap Shops

      Ideas Swap Shops are relatively short sessions, usually 90 minutes, where carers get together to share ideas and tips relating to particular circumstances. Attendees are invited to send questions or topics to the facilitator before the session so that they can be summarised into themes for discussion and as many areas as possible will be covered in the time. The aim is for attendees to leave with new strategies and practical tips and also for people in similar circumstances to meet each other and hopefully form their own supportive networks.


      Previous Events/Meetings

      Past meetings and events have included:

      • 'Learning Disability Awareness and Communication' - a talk delivered by Mencap for all interested staff which enabled attendees to think about what a learning disability is and gave an insight in to how communication can be affected by a learning disability.
      • 'Caring For An Older Person' - a talk delivered by Age UK which provided advice and resources for support for carers of older people. This session specifically covered some of the benefits system and finances for older people.
      • 'Looking After Me', which enabled carers to think about their own health, both mental and physical, in relation to their caring role. Participants were able to discuss the challenge of balancing caring with work and life in general and explored strategies to deal with these issues.
      • 'Rights and Resources' which covered topics including: legislation relating to carers, carers assessments, local and national organisations, benefits and council tax discount.
      • 'Stress Management and Relaxation' which taught participants techniques to promote good mental and physical wellbeing.
      • 'Caring for an Older Person and Understanding Dementia' which helped participants to understand the ageing process and dementia, to explore becoming a carer and discuss rights, resources and coping strategies.
      • 'Caring for a child with a Disability or Long Term Illness' which helped participants come to terms with a disability/illness, to explore becoming a carer and discuss rights, resources and coping strategies.
      • Dealing with Dementia Ideas Swap Shop
      • Festive social for parents and carers
      • The services and support offered by The Carers' Support Centre, Bristol and South Gloucestershire as well as carers' rights and benefits.

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      All sessions provide an opportunity to take time out to meet up with other working carers and feedback from attendees has been very positive:

      "I learnt lots from other peoples experience. I knew very little before this and now have a lot of useful information"

      "I have discovered so much more information and avenues to explore and feel a lot less overwhelmed by my situation"

      Feedback on what type of events people would be interested in attending is always welcome.

      To express your interest in joining the Network, to provide feedback and/or to sign up to the Carers' mailing list please e-mail uob-carers-network@bristol.ac.uk

      The list is used to publicise all events, share information and all members can use it to discuss issues, ask questions, arrange informal meet-ups etc.

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