"We should design care based on what people need and where they live" - that is the view of Chris Johnes, the director of the Building Communities Trust, at a Social Care Wales meeting at the National Eisteddfod field on 9 August 2017. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the role of communities and volunteers in providing care.
Mr Johnes said that most local councils design care services based on what is convenient to provide by specialist organisations and they don't take into account the interests of communities when doing so. "If local councils cooperated locally, they could support people with care needs to be active members of that community," he said.
As an example, he said that Anglesey's community hubs were designed and managed alongside the local communities. This inspired local people to use and support them. In contrast, he said that the councils run the hubs in south east Wales, meaning that the local community had not responded well to the provision.
Arwel Jones, head of adult services on Anglesey, said their hubs would "enable people to become part of their community. This will help them improve their personal well-being and ultimately encourage them to live independently of services for a longer period. "
He emphasized the importance of unpaid carers. "Family carers are vital to the country," he said. "They help people stay in their own homes. It's important for us as advice and communities to support them. "
This view was endorsed by Llinos Roberts, the chief officer of the Carers Support Service. "The caring role takes over the lives of the carer themselves," she said. "We talk to carers every day and the pressure on them is terrible. Caring affects the health of individuals, their mental health, and often causes terrible loneliness and financial hardship. "
In summarising his presentation, Chris Johnes said local councils must recognise the need for community-level investment to enable them to offer local care. To do this "there will be a need to change the way many of them look at the world."