- Our meetings – we have three formal meetings a year.
- Informal subgroups – you can join one of our many subgroups to connect with other members that share similar caring and parenting experiences
- Our MS Teams Carers and Parents Staff Network Site – a space to chat, ask colleagues for informal advice or share ideas. Network chairs will post items of note/interest to members.
Our network email – if you wish to contact the network chairs about an issue directly, please use our dedicated email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond as soon as we can. For urgent queries and confidential advice you can also contact the
Equality, diversity and inclusionteam.
equality, diversity and inclusionwebpages contain links to various local services and other sites of interest, provide more information about staff networks and hosts our network minutes and files.
The Staff Carers and Parents Network welcomes new members from across the University. We recognise that some aspects may be more important than others to our members, and possibly evolve over time. For example, members might be interested in any of the following:
- Balancing work demands against their children’s childcare or developmental needs across different age groups.
- Hearing about local services and activities, and any experiences that others have had of them.
- Seeking information and support as new/expectant parents.
- Connecting with other parents of children with SEND.
- Peer support among current and former carers.
- Obtaining support and guidance as a new, short-term or long-term carer.
Support for carers
You don’t need to be formally recognised as a carer by the Government or Benefit Agency to join the Staff Parent and Carers Network. If you balance work commitments with caring responsibilities for an ill, elderly or disabled family member, friend or partner and are interested in connecting with others in a similar position, the Staff Carers Network is for you.
We meet regularly online and in-person when we can to socialise, share any concerns and work together on representing the voice of carers at the University of Plymouth
Support for parents
Our Staff Parents Network Support page offers sources of information and support relating specifically to members of staff who are expectant parents or parents to children of any age, including:
- Useful links.
- University policies and procedures.
- General government guidance and support.
- Campus facilities.
We asked, you said
What is the most important thing that you would want people to know about caring?
- "Caring can be very unpredictable and varied. It always feels awkward telling my manager or team that I cannot do this or that."
- "Everything is moment by moment, and there are a lot of moments when its 24/7."
- "It is full time, if you are not actively doing the caring role you need to have someone else doing the role. It does not switch off through the night nor understand that you are busy or tired."
- "Please don’t assume that because somebody doesn’t have children, they don’t have caring responsibilities."
- "Work is hugely important to me as a carer, not only do I have to earn a living but it also provides me respite and job satisfaction."
- "Every day I come to work expecting an interruption to deal with an emergency."
- "As a carer I've learnt that patience and common sense are hugely important. Though I wish I was also a fully qualified Medic, Nurse, Therapist, Psychologist, Lobbyist and Diplomat with unceasing energy and more time."
- "As a carer, there will always be something that you cannot plan for flexibility at work is so important to managing this."
- "My time as a carer is like a complicated Jenga tower of logistics. My work time is the most carefully constructed and secure, but even that is subject to the odd wobble, fall and complete rebuild."
- "Caring doesn't stop when you go to work."
- "Having a supportive line manager is essential for carers, but not guaranteed, and is really inconsistent from person to person."
- "I can switch off from work but I can't switch off from caring."
- "That being a carer is hard, it can be exhausting and overwhelming and feel like there is no respite."
Spring 2022 update
FUTURES 2022 - Final Call
FUTURES is an annual event to mark European Researchers Night - a festival of discovery, FUTURES showcases and engages people across the South West with the region's research and innovation.
The University supports this project locally as part of a consortium of HEI’s in the South West; FUTURES22 will be a festival of Public Engagement with our research and is due to take place in the autumn. The Network has previously discussed the possibility of running a family event during the festival, with practical demonstrations and events to showcase some of the amazing things happening on campus.
If you would like to be involved in organising the family event then please do get in touch.
Women's Network – project update
Six of our network members have volunteered to work on a project with the University Women's Network, looking into the experiences of staff returning to work following maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
The project is currently in the process of obtaining ethical approval and once granted, will involve a series of focus groups and interviews. If you are interested in being involved in the project please get in touch and we can link you up with the project group.
Could you be a co-chair?
We would like to invite Expressions of Interest for the position of Carers & Parents Network Co-Chair at the end of this academic year. Staff Network co-chairs usually hold a term of two years in the role - we will therefore have an exciting opportunity for a new co-chair to help take the Network forward and would love for an existing member to take this on.
Working as a co-chair there is always someone to bounce ideas off and it provides a real opportunity to shape the Network activities and get involved in something different. You will get the opportunity to attend University Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee meetings, University Staff Network Chair Forums, and join the HE Parents & Carers Jiscmail to hear about other activities being held in Universities across the country.
Time off for Network activities is covered in the Staff Networks policy and help and support is available through the other Staff Network Chairs and central Equality, Diversity & Inclusion team.
If you are interested or would like to chat more about the role, please get in touch.
Inclusive Employers 'taking inclusion with...' podcasts are for anyone with an interest in inclusion and diversity and cover a broad spectrum of inclusion topics, including parents and carers at work. All episodes can be accessed via their website or through your regular podcast provider.