Can You See Us? - Experiences of LGBT Carers in England

Gaddum and LGBT Foundation have worked together to better understand the experiences of LGBT carers in England.

At the start of the project we researched what already existed in terms of LGBT+ carers support and found that little work had been done to understand the experiences of LGBT+ carers and to address their specific needs.

The evidence that does exist suggests that LGBT+ carers face a range of barriers and that their needs are often not met by services. For example, a Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard carer’s consultation found that LGBT+ carers faced a number of issues related to their identity. There were concerns that respite care would ‘not be LGBT aware and respectful’ and participants were concerned that care provided in the home would not be appropriate and may not respect their dignity and wishes. It was felt that support, advice and services must be LGBT+ aware and able to respond to the concerns that carers have.

A 2011 Stonewall survey found that three in five older LGB people were not confident that social care and support services, like paid carers or housing services, would be able to understand and meet their needs.

Furthermore 2015 research found a lack of recognition of LGBT relationships, this can be of friends as well as partners, this can create conflict over who is in charge of a persons’ care and who is nominated to make decisions on behalf of someone.

Young LGBT carers may also not be getting the support they need, a study of young LGBT carers in Scotland found that almost 2 in 3 said there was no person at their educational institution who recognised them as a LGBT young carer and helped them.

In order to address this gap in the evidence LGBT Foundation and Gaddum launched a project to better understand LGBT+ carer’s needs and to look at how services should be improved to better support LGBT+ carers, this involved the recruitment of an advisory panel of LGBT+ cares from across the UK, who acted as the ‘experts by experience’ for the project and also they decided on the content and questions of the survey before it was released, as well as reviewing the results and deciding on what they final report should look like.

Can You See Us is a new report launched by Gaddum and LGBT Foundation based on the findings of this survey and from the feedback from the LGBT+ carers advisory panel who’s valuable contributions and feedback were all included in the final report.

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"[Support services need better] understanding and explicit acknowledgement that caring for family is not the only kind of care there is and more LGBT people are more likely to be caring for ‘found family’ of all kinds, and are more likely to be carers at a younger age of others who are also younger."

- respondent to the Can You See Us survey

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Gaddum and LGBT Foundation would like to give special thanks to NHS England, Commitment to Carers Programme, Mind the Gap funding, which allowed us to run this project. We also want to give extra special thanks to the LGBT+ carers advisory panel who all contributed to everything included in this report, they are; AM, DW, NB, AP, DB, TA, AM, JK, RH, CL, ET, AG, SM, KW & SP.