Man’s best friend
After being at the forefront of a national campaign calling for a better deal for carers to encourage more to come into the profession, Caremark Redcar and Cleveland MD Michelle Jackson has now turned to man’s best friend for help.
Michelle has introduced Mark, the Caremark Dog, a large cuddly mascot which goes into communities served by Caremark Redcar and Cleveland to meet children and their parents and to highlight the benefits of working in care.
But dog lover Michelle didn’t just come up with the idea – she is also the person who dons Mark’s costume.
She says: “We recently held a family day at Redcar Town Football Club which was a way of thanking our staff for everything they do.
“As part of this the football club’s mascot was present and he proved very popular with the children, so it got me thinking about having our own mascot.
“I have five Labradors and many of our staff are dog lovers so having a dog as a mascot seemed the logical answer, especially as we will also be using dogs as part of an animal therapy service soon.
“I didn’t feel it was fair to ask anyone else to don the suit, as it’s very hot inside, so I did it and Mark has gone down a storm.”
Mark/Michelle, along with members of the Caremark team, visited towns such as Redcar, Guisborough, Saltburn and Marske over the summer handing out leaflets about being a carer to parents, along with a few goodies for the children.
Mark will be making a reappearance again during the October half-term.
Michelle added: “It’s certainly raised awareness of what we do and the benefits of being a carer, and has resulted in more enquiries.
“We know it’s not the best-paid job in the world, although we continue to campaign to change this, so we are particularly highlighting other things that only Caremark can offer, such as free access to mental health wellbeing support, family fun days, end of year carer awards and clear career progression.”