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Human Resources

Parents and Carers Network

About the Parents and Carers Network

Queen Mary Parents and Carers Network was established to raise awareness of the needs of working parents and carers. The Network is for staff who are parents (in any context) to children of any age and for those who are balancing work with caring for an ill, elderly, or disabled family member, friend or partner. We recognise that not all people with these responsibilties will consider themselves as a 'carer', but the Network is open and welcomes you. The Network gives parents and carers the opportunity to share experiences, tips and to offer support. The Network also provides an informal setting to socialise and to discuss the various challenges that are presented as a parent or a carer; talking to others who are in the same situation is often the most powerful form of support. It also acts as a mechanism for communication with the University, providing a forum for staff to consult on policy development and advise on best practice.

It is thought that three in five people in society will care for another at some point in their life. At Queen Mary, we recognise the very real issue of maintaining a full or part time job whilst caring for one or more other individuals. Carers are a diverse group and every caring situation is different – the person being cared for may be ill, frail, disabled, experiencing a time of mental distress or suffering from substance misuse. We recognise that someone may care for another for a limited period of time, for example, during the recovery period of a debilitating illness, as well as for longer periods of time or intermittently where an illness or disability has periods of remission. Carers are likely to need support whatever their situation. 

Queen Mary is committed to encouraging a working environment that celebrates diversity, promotes equality, values all staff and supports them to excel. As part of that commitment, we offer a number of resources to help parents and carers. The Network is supported by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Human Resources and Organisational Professional Development teams. The Network aims to help the University meet the strategic objective of the Queen Mary 2030 Strategy: to be 'the most inclusive University of it's kind, anywhere.' 

Some issues commonly facing parents and carers include: 

  • part-time working 
  • flexible working 
  • workload allocation  
  • techniques and strategies for communicating with colleagues and/or managers  
  • dealing with discrimination and stereotypes  
  • managing expectations of other staff  
  • challenging inappropriate comments by being an Active Bystander  
  • establishing work-life balance  

Core aims of the network

Below are some core aims that the Network might want to consider. However, these need to work for its members, so these will be updated, refined and prioritised as members join and shape the Network to meet their needs and goals. These will also likely change over time as the Network evolves. 

  • Provide a safe and confidential space for staff to share their experiences and offer peer support  
  • To support staff members who are balancing new or ongoing caring responsibilities with work and to signpost to internal and external sources of support 
  • To raise awareness of Queen Mary policies that support parents and carers 
  • To raise awareness of the challenges faced by parents and carers 
  • To open discussions about the issues facing parents and carers working at Queen Mary 
  • To facilitate mutual support, to signpost queries and advice and to represent your views to the University. 
  • To support each other and help our colleagues to make the transition into parenthood, or to adapt to a new addition to their family.  
  • To provide a forum for sharing best practice for teams, colleagues and the university to take on to support parents and carers 
  • To identify topics for events and activities of interest or benefit to network members. 
  • To contribute to discussions and consultation around the University's strategic aims and aspirations, notably the Queen Mary 2030 Strategy 
  • Take an intersectional approach to supporting parents and carers, by working closely with other staff and student Networks at Queen Mary (such as QMOUT, the Staff LGBTQ+ Network, and the Staff Disability Network). 

How will it work?

This Network is initially being set up and supported by the EDI Team, but it is not our Network: it’s yours. We hope that the Network will be led by staff, for staff. After interested members have joined the Microsoft Teams site (see below on how to join), we plan to gather ideas on how you want to run the Network and what you want to get out of it. Staff will have the opportunity to contribute in a variety of ways: for example, through Team Meetings online, Channel discussions via Teams as well as by email or phone.  

How to Join

The Network will be hosted on Microsoft Teams, where members can have conversations on Channels, share files and resources and host meetings online.  

If you care for someone and are interested in meeting others in a similar position and sharing your experiences, join our Parents and Carers Network. You can join the network, access resources and forum by signing up through Microsoft TEAMS.

The Microsoft Teams site is a private group and though there is some degree of visibility when you join (other members can see who you are), we request that members maintain strict confidentiality about its membership and contents.  

If you do not feel comfortable joining the Teams site for now, have any questions or want to contribute in another way, you can get in touch with the EDI team

  • Emma's Dairy - Baby & pregnancy advice for parents-to-be.
  • Fit Pregnancy - Prenatal and postnatal guidance on health, baby care and more.
  • Bounty - Pregnancy, birth and baby advice for dads.
  • Adoption UK - can put you in touch with adopters who are facing the same issues as you and invite you to family days where you can meet other adoptive families. 
  • First 4 Adoption - a resource for those thinking of adoption. Includes advice and curated elearning modules which explore what life as an adoptive parent is really like. 
  • Single Parents - brings together essential information, expert advice, interactive learning, multi-media content, links to other support organisations and news for anyone who is parenting alone. 
  • Gingerbread - To get there, we provide information to help single parents support themselves and their family. We run programmes to equip single parents with the skills and opportunities to gain employment. And we campaign and influence policy to reduce stigma against single parents, and make services more accessible to all families – whatever their shape or size.
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