Our colleagues discuss their experiences for Carers Week

12 Jun 2020
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Carers Week 2020 - photos of our colleagues who are also carers

As part of Carers Week, some of our colleagues who have combined their caring responsibilities with working for SGN have shared their experiences to raise awareness and to #MakeCaringVisible.

Our colleague Karen works in the Admin team at our Coatbridge depot. For the last 11 years, Karen and her husband Chris, who also works with us, have been navigating their roles as parents and carers. Their son Matthew has a health condition that is extremely unpredictable and has required countless hospital stays. Karen was working full time and finding it difficult to manage her responsibilities at work and home as effectively as she’d wanted to.

Karen said: “My General Manager adopted a very pragmatic approach. He asked me to think about what I wanted and needed from him to improve my situation and what working hours I could commit to. We agreed to trial part-time working and it allowed me to juggle all my roles far more easily, it really made the world of difference. Thankfully, now that Matthew is much more stable, I’ve been able to revert back to full-time hours again.”

Frank works in our Safety, Health and Environment team and has been a full-time carer to his wife, Debbie, for the past eighteen years. Her illness meant she had to undergo a number of difficult surgeries and her road to recovery was a challenging one that has changed their lives. Debbie now relies on Frank for physical and emotional support.

Frank considers himself lucky to belong to an understanding team and to have a manager who listens if he needs to discuss the issues that come with being a carer. This has included completing a home-based training course instead of having to attend one requiring periods of time away from home.

Frank said: "When I occasionally need to talk to my manager about issues that affect me, he really does listen. If there’s something going on and it’s difficult, it’ll play on your mind. The best thing you can do is speak to people you trust.”

They both agree on the importance of speaking to a manager as soon as possible. Karen says: “a problem shared is a problem halved. Without sharing your worries or concerns, you won’t know what support is available and you might just be surprised with the response you receive.”

Caring can be incredibly rewarding but it can also be extremely challenging and can impact on areas of life including relationships, health, finances and work. With as many as three in five people being carers at some point in their lives, we’re proud to support our colleagues and to raise awareness of their care stories.