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New voice for social care heroes

A new organisation has been launched to look after the army of unsung heroes who provide social care for vulnerable adults and children across Wales.

The Academy of Care Practitioners is the first body of its kind to be established in the UK and is expected to inspire a network of similar organisations in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire.

The launch took place at the Senedd in Cardiff today at a ceremony hosted by the Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas AM

The Academy is the brainchild of Care Forum Wales which represents more than 500 independent social care providers.

It has been set up as a company limited by guarantee with the aim of it becoming a charity and Glyndwr University, in Wrexham, will be its main base for the foreseeable future.

The aim is to promote, support and develop Care Practitioners and raise standards in social care provision - and raise the status of the "undervalued profession".

The launch came after a successful 12-month pilot programme.

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, is passionate about the need for the new Academy.

He said: "People rightly talk about safeguarding service users, vulnerable people who receive a care service, but in my opinion not enough is considered in terms of safeguarding the social care workers.

"The whole social care system in Wales, and indeed the whole NHS system, is predicated on tens of thousands of people getting up early every morning and doing a really difficult job.

"It’s high time that group of people had the opportunity to join a professional body for vocationally qualified social care workers that is dedicated 100 per cent to them.

"By showing respect for people who work in social care you’re also showing respect for the people they care for.

"I think those members of the public who either receive or are close to family members of those who receive social care in the main they know that they’re getting a good service.

"But I think it's fair to say that social care is seriously undervalued as a profession and this is a means of raising their status.

Networking Events

The Academy will organise and hold local, regional and national events such as seminars, workshops and a conference specifically for care practitioners. During the year there will be opportunities for you as a member to meet your colleagues and discuss and debate issues that are relevant to you. There will be an opportunity to meet with policy makers and developers, and by creating this direct link with the workforce and government you will be involved in making a valuable contribution to the advancement of social care.

Network Topics

Members will be consulted on their choice of topic to be discussed at the events. Topics identified may include nutrition management, dignity and safety, standards and registration, workforce development or accountability issues, your suggestions however are welcome. Already a number of care practitioners have suggested how important their role could be in relation to the ‘sustainability agenda’. The issue of climate change and what we all can do to help is important to everyone and care practitioners can play their part. Every effort will be made to invite relevant external speakers to the events, and there will also be opportunity for discussion with fellow Academy members.

Consultation Opportunities

Members will be supported to engage with public bodies that develop policies and procedures that affect their work. The memberships’ views and opinions will be sought on reports and policy statements published by the Welsh Government. The ACP will ensure that your views and voices are heard by the Assembly.

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September 2014