A Brief History of Trafford Carers Centre
Trafford Community Collective
In April 2022, we were very pleased to win the contract and retain our position of the main point of contact for carers looking after someone in Trafford. The specification focused on delivering an accessible service which is being achieved through building strategic partnerships and joining the Trafford Community Collective. The Centre also works closely with Community Response Hubs (established in response to the pandemic) to deliver place based support to carers including information, advice and support groups.We are delighted and excited to be working with Oglesby Trust who will be funding non-statutory delivery of carer support for the next 3 years.Through a relationship with Trafford Housing Trust we are able to deliver a 2 year dedicated carers support and engagement programme focusing on reengaging carers to access groups, activities, ongoing support and volunteering opportunities following the impact of the pandemic.In a further review of maintaining our financial security and to recognise our strategic direction to offer a hybrid model of working alongside place based support, a decision to downsize the main office on School Road was made. In February a move took place to Springfield Road.
In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic led to a number of changes within the organisation. A new CEO was appointed to focus on 3 key areas: business efficiency, review staffing structure and to improve carer support. Staff quickly adapted to working from home, delivering services largely over the phone and through video conferencing. Funding was sought to improve resources to enable efficiency hybrid working practices and as Covid restrictions eased a hybrid model remained in place to support a move to delivering a place based service, making carer support accessible in all neighbourhoods of the borough.An extensive consultation period held with carers and key partners a specification for carers services was launched ahead of a recommissioning phase to award the Carer Services contract.
With ongoing austerity cuts including a 40% reduction in funds to the statutory contract, Trafford Carers Centre looked to diversify income streams by opening a charity shop. A shop in Sale was opened in December 2015 with a second shop opening in 2017 in Stretford. The enterprise operated in three ways; generating income and providing opportunity to reach out to carers and raise awareness and to provide opportunities for carers to develop skills through volunteering placements. With the ongoing impact of austerity cuts Trafford Carers Centre sought funds to develop and grow wellbeing services and, in February 2016, we were very pleased to open our Health & Wellbeing Centre to focus on physical & emotional wellbeing. The Health & Wellbeing Centre became a base for counselling, health checks, alternative therapies, support groups, activities and workshops.
Social Services, Trafford Council and Trafford CCG fully committed to the progress of the Carers Centre and reaffirmed partnerships. Trafford Cares Centre also rejoined the Princess Royal Trust for Carers (which today is known as Carers Trust) and is also a member of Carers UK.The Board worked hard to drive strategic direction for the Centre and relieving funding pressures through corporate partnerships, fundraising activity, trusts and grants. Trafford Carers Centre was also commissioned by Trafford Council and Trafford CCG to deliver statutory and wellbeing support to carers.
Trafford Carers Centre recruited a Centre Manager, re-establishing and strengthening relationships with Trafford Council which was the turning point for the Centre registering as an independent charity in 2003. Since then the Centre has gone from strength to strength developing its core offer to supporting carers and strengthening partnerships across the Borough.
The Centre encountered a number of difficulties in the early years including threats of closure and lack of sufficient funding for its core costs. Health funding stopped, Signet moved out of the area and there was uncertainty about Social Service funding as well as the Centre ceasing its membership to the Princess Royal Trust.
The start of carers support in Trafford
Negotiations took place between Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Trafford Council’s Social Services to open a Combined Care Centre at Stretford Memorial Hospital took place to establish comprehensive support service for informal Carers living within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford and bring together Social Services day care provision along with Health Authority respite. Funding was identified and secured from Kellogg’s and Signet and Age Concern (today know as age UK, Trafford) was approached to deliver support services for carers and the Centre was finally established in 1996.