NORTH East SNP MSP, Mark McDonald, spent a day last week shadowing unpaid carer, Stephanie Chalmers and her ten-year-old son, Connor.
Mr. McDonald has some experience of the challenges which face carers as his own mother supports his grandmother.
He spent time watching and assisting Mrs. Chalmers as she went about her daily routine with Connor, to gain insight into the issues facing parent carers.
During the visit Mr. McDonald discussed the challenges Mrs Chalmers faces with her son, and her specific concerns on the difficulties carers often encounter. He also explored what he could do, in his role as MSP and as a member of Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Carers.
Commenting, Mr. McDonald said: “This has been a hugely rewarding and worthwhile experience, and I am very grateful to Stephanie and to Connor for allowing me to spend the day with them.
“Although I had some awareness of the challenges facing carers from my mother’s experiences, I am pleased I had the opportunity to meet Stephanie and to hear the specific challenges she faces.
“I welcome her insight and I am sure that this experience will enable me to take the issue forward and to ensure that we are doing as much as we can to help Scottish families who care for their loved ones.”
Mrs. Chalmers added: “I hope that Mark’s visit has been both beneficial and insightful to him and that as a result of the shadowing experience some real positive and progressive changes can be made to help not only unpaid carers but also disabled people throughout Scotland.”
Lynn Williams, Policy Officer for the Princess Trust on Carers, said: “It is incredibly brave of Stephanie and her family to open up their lives to Mark MacDonald MSP in this way. Set up by Lucy Whiteman who works with Stephanie, this experience offers an opportunity for carers and those they care for to directly shape the policies and legislation which impact on their lives.”
“The Trust is delighted that SNP MSPs like Mark are taking the opportunity to learn first-hand about the reality of life as an unpaid carer in Scotland and what needs to happen to ensure that national commitments lead to real change and benefit for unpaid carers and the family members they love and support each day.”