Derbyshire County Council are asking local carers to share their experiences and participate in a year-long empathy project called Walk a Mile in a My Shoes.
The project idea has been developed from work carried out by the Empathy Museum , which set up the first “A Mile in My Shoes” project to promote empathy by getting people thinking about what other people's lives are like.
The museum set up a mobile ‘shoe shop’ where visitors are invited to Walk a Mile in someone else's shoes - literally.
When members of the public visit the Walk a Mile 'shoe shop' they're asked to choose a pair of unfamiliar shoes to walk a mile in while listening to an audio recording of someone else’s life story (or a day in their life) through headphones.
Last year, the Health Foundation teamed up with the Museum to develop a collection of stories from people using and working in health and social care services in the UK. This included parent carer Becky Wyatt who recorded her story.
Derbyshire County Council Adult Care would like to give local people the opportunity to step into the shoes of carers - and see the world through their eyes - by running a Derbyshire based “A Mile in My Shoes” project in the twelve months running up to Carers Week 2018.
Volunteer carers will be recruited from across the county via the many groups and organisations for carers in Derbyshire, and by running an open recruitment programme through local and social media. Proactive recruitment will be undertaken amongst communities of interest and other minority groups to ensure the voices of Derbyshire’s diverse populations are included.
Volunteers will be asked to do two things; firstly, they will be ask to choose a favourite pair of their shoes that they feel represents their lives for us to photograph and secondly, to make a short audio recording describing the good, the bad, the funny and the sad aspects of their life as a carer and any key messages they wish to share. Consent to enable us to sharing their recordings and photographs will be obtained from each volunteer; a copy of the consent form is attached here.
The audio clips and photographs will be used to build up a virtual “shoe shop” over the coming twelve months; this will be located on the carers website and form a library of open access stories.
The project will culminate in Carers Week 2018, with a series of events across the county to enable people to experience for themselves the remarkable contributions made, and challenges faced, by carers. The details of these events will be finalised in the three months leading up to Carers Week.
This approach is intended to be person-centred, focussing on and highlighting the experiences and quality of life of local carers. It links with the national drive to use storytelling as a means to increase understanding, to contribute to inclusion, to build connections in society and to bring about change. It aligns with approaches currently in use in the NHS to engage people with quality improvement work and will therefore foster collaboration across organisations. The approach is applicable to all areas and to all client groups, including those with specific vulnerabilities. As such, this project will inform a tandem piece of work planned for people with dementia.
Opportunities for collaboration on this project are currently being explored with both the Empathy Project and the Health Foundation.
At this stage, Adult Care just need local carers to register their interest in recording their stories and experiences of caring onto audio. If you, or someone you know, would like to volunteer please contact the Adult Care Information Team on tel: 01629 531310 or use the contact us form. You don't need to have any special equipment to take part.
For more information about the audio recording see A Mile in My Shoes - Brief for audio recording.
(image courtesy of the Empathy Museum website)June 09 2017