Social care charities team up to lobby conferences

Three charities have combined to stage joint events at this year's party political conferences - a move they say will save them two-thirds of their usual costs.

Scope, Age Concern England and Mencap are collaborating on fringe events at each of the main political party conferences.

Each charity is paying £4,000 for the venture, instead of up to £12,000 each if they went individually.

"We saw there was a clear benefit to working together because we could raise the profile of the issue and exert more influence with key decision-makers," said Suzanne Stevenson, press manager at Scope.

"The people our organisations represent use the social care system in different ways. By uniting, we give a strong message that the system isn't working for everyone."

Lucy Hannigan, a press officer at Mencap, said: "A combined voice is much stronger than a single one, and there are financial benefits because we can share resources."

Collaboration began at a fringe event at the Liberal Democrats conference on Tuesday. Next week the trio will lobby at a Labour conference event attended by health secretary Alan Johnson.

The fringe events coincide with the Government's ongoing assessment of options for reforming the social care system.

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