Blog: "​​​​​​​Challenging work in challenging times...

Photo of Alison Jarvis with black background

23 November 2021

I’ve recently taken up the role of Chair of South Tees Carers’ Forum.  I know I’ll be doing a lot of chairing meetings, taking notes, talking to people, representing the Forum, and pushing to progress the Forum’s agenda.  I also know the challenges I’ll face in being Chair pale in comparison to the day-to-day challenges faced by unpaid carers.

My working life has been pretty much straightforward – about 10 years with a local council, about 15 with a national charity, and nearly 10 with Teesside University.  My home life – like that of so many others – has been an almost constant juggle to keep work in its place whilst trying to care for various family members.  So what has this taught me?  Well, for starters:

  • I understand the reluctance to accept the label of ‘carer’
  • I know the frustrations of searching for help
  • I get that spending lots of time on practicalities…
  • … can leave little time for sharing leisure and pleasure, and
  • I appreciate the emotional toll that may build up

I gave up full-time work earlier this year and was drawn to applying for the Chair’s role when I saw what had been happening here in the South Tees area.  What the Forum has achieved – in the most difficult of circumstances – was inspiring.  I was keen to pick up a new focus after retiring, so I put my forms in and here I am.

I’m looking forward to meeting lots of people, carers and professionals, and working together to move things forward.  I’m also anticipating learning a lot that is relevant to my own caring roles along the way.  And finally, I’m keen to balance my involvement with pursuing my other interests – learning bridge, seeing live music, digging up family trees, and watching trash TV.

Finally – and back to the title - the previous Chair, Declan Baharini, is a very hard act to follow.  I hope I can do justice to the Forum’s achievements so far.  I’ll certainly be trying to.  

Alison Jarvis"

If you would like to connect with Alison please contact her via email at;