MSP is looking for carers’ champions

New MSP Fiona McLeod outside Kirkintilloch Herald office 12.5.11 Picture by Jamie Forbes
New MSP Fiona McLeod outside Kirkintilloch Herald office 12.5.11 Picture by Jamie Forbes

CARING foR a relative is close to MSP Fiona McLeod’s heart.

She has looked after her Bearsden-based mother Irene for some time - and the MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden has also been a peer support work for a local carers charity.

Now, she is looking for two carers to represent the area at an inaugural Carers Parliament sitting at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

The clock is ticking for nominations and Mrs McLeod, pictured right, is determined that Milngavie and Bearsden is represented on this key platform.

Anybody interested must get in touch by July 21 and a ballot will be used to draw the two carers who will represent each constituency.

Leading parliamentarians are desperate to know what grass roots people think and Mrs McLeod said: “This will not be just a talking shop.

“There will be real outcomes which will be fed back to the Parliament.”

She desperately wants to hear from people who think they have something to say and need a platform to do it.

And funding is available to support carers who want to attend.

The cash will assist with travel, subsistence and, if required, replacement care costs.

The high-profile event is sponsored by Michael Matheson MSP, Minister for Public Health, and Elaine Smith MSP, the Scottish Parliament’s Deputy Presiding Officer.

It is also supported by a number of national carer organisations.

Fiona, who recently held a surgery for carers to raise their concerns following the welfare reform changes, added: “The Scottish Parliament takes the role of carers very seriously.

“It recognises the valuable work they carry out on a daily basis to support vulnerable Scots.

“We are working with Carers Scotland to organise this event and the application form to nominate a delegate can be found on their website www.carerscotland.org.

“Further information can be obtained by calling them direct on 0141 445 3070.”

The MSP added: “Having been one of Strathklevin and Bearsden’s many carers and met with many other local carers, I know there are lots of people who could voice the key issues for us locally at the event.

“Please take this opportunity to put Strathkelvin and Bearsden carers on the national agenda.

“I know how difficult it is to be a carer. My mother had problems and, until last November, I was her primary carer. I also worked as a peer support worker with Carers Link in Milgnavie for two years.

“We want to hear from people who are not afraid to tell us like it is. T

“his is a fantastic opportunity for them to speak people on a national stage who are decision makers. This will not be just a talking shop.

“There will be real outcomes and the event is being sponsored by the Minister for Public Health and the Deputy Presiding Officer. They want to know what is going on. They want to know what services are on offer and how they are working.

“They also want to know the impact is on the community and they are seeking a cross-section of Scots for which caring forms part of their lives.

“They are also aware of a recent report which revealed that carers put their own health to the back burner to look after somebody.”

She added: “We want to hear from people sitting at home who want to talk to people at the top and there are funds available for this to happen.

“I stress, funding is available to support carers to attend, which will help with travel, subsistence and if required replacement care costs.

“So, please get in touch soon so we are well represented on the day.”