An Edinburgh charity has become the first in Scotland to be awarded a prestigious quality mark for the services it offers unpaid carers.
The Princess Royal Trust VOCAL Carers Centre has achieved the PQASSO Quality Mark Level 2, in addition to being named as a Centre of Excellence by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers earlier this month.
The centre gained recognition because of the excellent support it offers carers – those who provide unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.
As well as providing help and information for carers, the centre also provides training, advocacy, counselling and carer workshops to more than 4,000 carers in the area.
Edinburgh MSP Sarah Boyack was among those who congratulated VOCAL on its achievement, tabling a motion at the Scottish Parliament. The motion, which has already won the support of 20 other MSPs, states: “The awards not only reflect the strong collective commitment to excellent in carer support by VOCAL board members, staff and volunteers but also their strong tradition of partnership work with funders and service partners.”
Co-ordinator Mirella Grillo, who carried out the evaluation of the centre on behalf of Charity Evaluation Services, says: “The PQASSO Quality Assurance system is now being used by over 14,000 organisations in England, Wales and Scotland. We are delighted that VOCAL in Edinburgh is one of the early organisations to seek external accreditation and the first one in Scotland to be awarded the PQASSO Quality Mark at Level 2. We hope this will inspire other charities in Scotland to recognise the value of PQASSO and adopt a similar approach as VOCAL.”
Florence Burke, Director for Scotland for The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, adds: “We are absolutely delighted that VOCAL is the first organisation in Scotland to be awarded PQASSO quality mark level 2 and that they have received The Trust’s quality mark as a Centre for Excellence.
“Our assessors found that the centre offers a professional and comprehensive service, which is clearly valued by carers and has the needs of carers at the heart of its work. We were pleased to see how much support is offered to carers, and how the centre involves carers in planning and reviewing services.”
Patrick Layden, QC, who recently took over as chairperson of VOCAL, says: “VOCAL’s motto has always been ‘Only the Best is Good Enough for Carers’. Today this is more important than ever. At times when public services are being cut, unpaid carers – who are already the largest careforce in Scotland – need the best support they can get. VOCAL needs to evidence high quality services to get the funding we require to support carers.”
For further information, please contact Julie Gardner on 0131 622 6666.
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Notes to Editors
1. Carers and VOCAL
VOCAL – Voice of Carers Across Lothian – is an organisation run by carers for carers. A carer is someone who provides unpaid care to a relative, partner or friend who is elderly or requires help to manage a long term illness, disability, physical or mental health problems or addiction.
VOCAL manages the Edinburgh Princess Royal Trust Carers Centre and supports carers by providing information and advice, training, advocacy, counselling and carer workshops. Further information on VOCAL is available online: www.edinburghcarers.co.uk
VOCAL is a network member of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.
2. Charities Evaluation Services and PQASSO
Charities Evaluation Services (CES) is the UK's leading provider of support and advice on quality and evaluation systems for the voluntary sector. CES helps members of voluntary and community organisations develop their own approaches to enhancing the quality of their services; establishing self-evaluation and quality systems, and improving the management of their organisations.
PQASSO has been developed by CES and is the most widely used quality assurance system within the voluntary and community sector. It is suitable for small, medium or large voluntary and community organisations, or for project teams in very large organisations. Organisations working in all areas – for example, health, social care, the environment or animal welfare – can use PQASSO. The PQASSO Quality Mark is the externally assessed award for PQASSO and it offers accreditation against the PQASSO quality standards. For more information visit: www.ces-vol.org.uk
3. The Princess Royal Trust for Carers
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers is the UK’s largest provider of comprehensive services for carers and young carers. Through its work with the unique network of independently managed Carers’ Centres, the interactive websites www.carers.org and www.youngcarers.net, The Trust provides quality information and advice to more than 400,000 carers, including approximately 25,000 young carers. For more information on the work of The Trust, please visit www.carers.org or telephone 0141 221 5066.
4. Scottish Parliament motion raised by Sarah Boyack MSP
Further information on the Scottish Parliament motion can be found at: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/Apps2/business/motions/Default.aspx?motionid=20238
Rosie McLoughlin, Carer Information and Communications Manager, 0131 622 6666
Sebastian Fischer, VOCAL Chief Executive, Mobile: 07780992899