A network of Sunderland organisations have joined forces to boost support for carers and families across the city.

All for Carers (AFC), or The Caring Families Support Alliance, is a partnership formed by Sunderland CCG, Sunderland City Council and a host of organisations from the voluntary and community sector to support families with caring responsibilities.

Alliance chairman, Cllr Kelly Chequer, said: “Sunderland has over 32,500 identified carers. Of those, around 2,500 are young carers and many are accessing support through only one or two organisations.

“All for Carers is pulling all of these support providers together to pool our efforts and provide a more holistic service to those who need us most.

“We also want to build on the great work of all members in providing a voice for carers, ensuring that everyone receives the help they need and that any gaps in provision are addressed as quickly as possible.”

A new website has been launched to highlight the Alliance and can be viewed here: https://allforcarers.co.uk/

The site will support the development of training programmes, raising awareness and understanding of the needs of carers and their families, and of local carer support services for health and social staff and partner organisations.

Working together, the Alliance will champion positive work taking place across the city, while examining any barriers to or gaps in provision for carers.

“Members are collaborating to share best practice,” said Cllr Chequer. “By working together as a motivated team, we will forge new and innovative ways of identifying and supporting carers.

“The Alliance will organise new events and promote established events across our combined networks.

“Workshops and training will also be arranged, designed to engage families and help build understanding of available support packages and helping them understand their rights.

“Carers are and always will be at the heart of everything we do – they will be our expert partner, ensuring that carers always have a prominent voice within and across the city.”

All for Carers will utilise its partnership network to examine the carer policies of businesses and other organisations from a strategic point of view, working with carers themselves to understand the challenges facing families and individuals.

Sitting alongside AFC, the Carers Action Group has also been created to provide a loudhailer for carers in and around Sunderland.

Via regular meetings, carers provide their views on the carer offer in Sunderland and will take a strategic look and provide insight into the measures that could help improve it.

All for Carers will utilise the Group as an important sounding board, and the CCG, City Hospitals and Sunderland Council will all feed into the group, which will help gauge opinion and assess the needs of carers.

Chris Ranson, Sunderland Carers Centre partnership lead and AFC co-ordinator, said: “People need to be identified as carers as early as possible, and once it is established we will help make sure they are informed, put in touch with health and social care professionals and have choice and control about their individual caring role.

“We want people to get the personalised support they and their families need, helping them to stay healthy, be socially connected and to feel empowered to fulfil their educational and employment potential, and where possible to help them maintain employment.”