Firstly it was very encouraging to hear the wide range of carer views and feedback in the morning session before lunch. This was the highlight for me. Carers saying it how it is and being allowed to have their say. Well done to Scottish Parliament for giving carers a voice in this way! It can't have been easy to listen to. I found it moving, challenging and heartening. It gave me hope and I found that I was not alone in being a carer. And I even got an opportunity to speak without a straitjacket around. Great stuff.
Another plus was the sharing by MSPs of their own personal experience of the caring role, speaking about family members and the difficulties they had in accessing services. An honest thing to do and again not easy sharing your story. It gave a sense of solidarity to the proceedings. Added to which were the individual presentations by two different carers, from a father/husband's viewpoint, and a young carer. Both of these talks preceded the open carer feedback and were powerful as well as pointed.
I want to make this first blog post on the Carers' Parliament launch a positive one. There will be time enough to constructively criticise. For me as a carer it was great to be sitting with other carers and sharing with them over lunch. Then getting on the train back to Cupar I came upon another carer and we enjoyed the journey north, talking about our families, our lives and our reflections on many different topics. Getting to know one another, this is what it's all about. A grand end to the day.