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Supporters join in 21st birthday celebrations
ONE of the largest charities in the south-west celebrated its 21st birthday with a party for service users, staff and supporters. 
The Aspects and Milestones Trust charity was founded in 1986 as the Frenchay and Southmead Care Trust and was instrumental in the closure of former long stay hospitals, enabling adults with enduring mental health problems or learning disabilities to move into homes in the community.  
The charity now provides services in the Bristol, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset areas.  
Aspects and Milestones Trust runs 60 residential homes, including the area’s first purpose built dementia care centre, provides supported living and home-based packages of care and also supports local people in innovative employment projects. 
Chief executive Mel Akers said: “I am proud that the Trust has achieved so much in 21 years, and delighted that so many supporters joined the celebrations.  
“The Trust faces many challenges ahead, not least providing excellent individual services at a time when spending on health and social care is very constrained.”

Conference looks at key domiciliary care issues
DOMICILIARY care was in the spotlight at the annual conference organised by the nursing and social care sector group of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). 
The half-day conference focused on key issues facing the sector including whether low charges  
given by some local authorities has affected the standard of care  
The conference also explored how agencies can ensure they benefit from the registration of care workers with the General Social Care Council (GSCC) and also who is to benefit from the electronic monitoring of care workers. 
Among the conference speakers were Mike Wardle, acting chief  
executive officer of the GSCC; Simon Morrison from the Home Office who spoke on the new independent safeguarding authority policy and also Glen Mason from the Department of Health. 
Also attending was Alison Smith, winner of the agency care worker 
of the year category of the 2007 One in a Million award, the highlight 
of national temporary workers week, who was on a panel which  
discussed some of the issues 
REC nursing and social care sector group chairman Peter Cullimore said: “In spite of a number of Government publicity campaigns, domiciliary care remains a poor relation both in terms of the status of the workers and of their rates of pay.  
“The situation has been made appreciably worse by the tight  
strictures on finance which are being applied by many local  
“Many domiciliary care agencies rely 100 per cent on work from local authorities and unless they can obtain a reasonable return, they are not in a position to raise the pay of their care workers.”

Major milestone is marked
WEST Midlands based IT company CM2000 reached a major milestone by logging the 50 millionth call on their patented monitoring service CallConfirmLive. 
To celebrate reaching this milestone in the company’s history, CM2000, presented a new car to the care worker who made the call at a champagne reception at their offices in Sutton Coldfield. 
The 50 millionth call was made by Denise Fuller of Sevacare Hounslow. She said: “At first I didn’t believe it, but there were tears of joy when I found out I had won a new car. I have been a carer for 10 years so I do a lot of miles and had been thinking about changing my car. My children don’t believe their mum’s luck.” 
CM2000 managing director Peter Longman said: “This year we have been fortunate to be awarded the Queen’s Award for enterprise (in the innovation category) for our contribution to improving the quality of home care through our innovative monitoring services.  
“As a thank you to all our customers for their continuing business and in recognition of the sterling work which home carers consistently carry out for both local authorities and independent providers, we are delighted to present Denise Fuller of Sevacare Hounslow with a new Ford Ka for logging the 50 millionth call.”

Carers in delivery to Number 10
A GROUP of carers representing the six million across the UK delivered letters to Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street ahead of the first ever carers’ summit being held in London.  
The letters are part of Carers UK’s Real Change not Short Change campaign calling for a fresh look at carers’ benefits and the financial support they receive.  
Carers are asking for a decent standard of living and the opportunity to be able to work if they wish. 
Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “We’ve had a staggering response to our campaign and a wide range of messages showing the strength of carers’ feelings.  
“The support that carers provide is worth £87billion each year, yet in return the carer’s allowance is just £48 a week.  
“Carers see this as an insult and want the system changed.” 
Research by Carers UK shows that nearly three quarters of carers are worse off as a result of caring. A third struggle to pay bills and one in five has cut back on food. 
The carers summit, organised by Carers UK, saw 250 carers from throughout the UK debate the crucial issues facing carers in the 21st century, including the lack of recognition they face, the low incomes they are forced to survive on and the need for health and social care services to better support carers.  
Ivan Lewis MP, minister for care services and Anne McGuire MP, minister for carers’ benefits, attended to hear carers’ views which they will feed in to the national carers strategy. 
Gordon Brown has made carers a priority by setting up a standing commission on carers, and launching the largest ever consultation for carers with a review of the national strategy for carers, which he has pledged will become a vision for the next 10 years.
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