Weavers – A Peer to Peer Program

Building a support model for all carers

Co-designed with carers for carers, Weavers helps carers manage the ongoing challenges of caring, reducing the stress of caring and increasing wellbeing. The model is currently being scales in five locations across Australia and New Zealand.

Carers have the lowest wellbeing of any population subgroup, with one in six having contemplated self harm. Three in five people will care for an ageing spouse, parent, friend or relative.

  • There are 2,7 million people in Australia providing informal assistance1
  • The estimated value of unpaid care in 2015 was $60.3 billion (3.8% of GDP)2

One-third of the 2.6 million Australians in unpaid caring roles have ‘severe’ or ‘extremely severe’ depression3 and 90% don’t access Commonwealth Respite and Support Services.

Our vision

Our ambition and vision is big, to scale Weavers nationally and build true and effective supports for people caring for a loved one. We believe that no carer should be left behind.

Our approach

In early 2011 we did deep research to understand caring and co-designed an early model. Read our research report.

From there we tested early and often, including partnering with a local aged care provider.

In 2019 we launched our new Weavers web site.

Before Weavers I had reached the point were I was ready to walk out the door and never come back. Weavers helped me explore the options of care for my wife.

Family Carer

TACSI insights

We learned that more resilient networks spread caring roles across a number of people, creating less pressure on just one person.

However, we also discovered that many carers take on the burden of care single handedly, and are hidden due to not identifying as carer, or accessing formal services and supports.

Through our prototyping and research we identified and embedded three key theories and frameworks within Weavers.

Ambiguous loss

Helps make sense of the complex layers of grief that carers experience, including grief that is not socially recognised.

Grief intervention

Supports carers through a process of acknowledgment, identifying possibilities, trying things and reflecting on how that went.

Narrative practice

Is about tools and techniques that anyone can use. Narrative practice helps people identify their strengths that they can draw on in working through the challenges that they face as a carer.

Outcomes

In 2017 TACSI engaged an economist to determine the cost benefit ratio of implementing Weavers.

It was found that over a three year period for every $1 invested results in $13 in benefit to the community.

Formal evaluation and the pilot of Weavers told us the program:

  • Promotes better acess to formal care
  • Increases the wellbeing of carers
  • Creates meaningful roles for people with lived experience of caring
  • Promote involvement of carers in the decisions that affect them and the people they care for

Weavers now has over five implementation sites underway in Australia.

Weavers now has over five implementation sites underway in Australia.


1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012

2. The Economic Value of Informal Care in Australia, 2015, Deloitte Access Economics 2015

3. Dr Siobahn O’Dwyer is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Health Practice Innovation (Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University)