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Published: 31 Mar 2015

Carers of West Lothian – Highly Commended 2015 Carers Scotland Award for Best for Carers and Eldercare

Carers of West Lothian (COWL) is a carer support organisation that puts the welfare of carers at the forefront of everything it does.

The organisation takes family friendly working very seriously by offering the following practical support:

  • Flexible working
  • Paid dependant’s leave
  • Adjustment leave to adapt to new caring situations
  • Support to care for friends and neighbours in addition to family
  • Managers who are fully trained to support carers
  • Individually tailored support
  • Carers champion at senior board level
  • Carers network
  • Carer support groups and focus groups
  • Training for personal development

COWL takes an innovative approach to supporting its people and its clients. It funded Mindfulness training for an employee who needed help to deal with the stresses of caring. This employee went on to gain a relevant teaching qualification. Now she delivers Mindfulness sessions bringing benefits inside and outside COWL including improved wellbeing and stress reduction.

This supportive approach to staff wellbeing makes a positive difference to the lives of many people. One employee, whose journey through COWL has taken her from a volunteer role to a 21 hour a week post as her caring responsibilities changed, sums up the experience as follows:

“The organisation have invested time and money training me allowing me to develop and become a valued member of staff. Since starting at Carers as a volunteer my confidence and self-esteem have grown tremendously through the support, understanding and encouragement I have received from the organisation.”