The dedication and inspirational devotion of unpaid family carers and organisations that support them have been honoured in the Pride in Our Carers Awards 2018.
The awards were presented last week at a special event at KingsGate Conference Centre in Peterborough, held jointly by Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk and Peterborough City Council to mark national Carers Week. The event brought carers, organisations, charities and businesses that support them together under one roof. Those who attended were able to have a chat, take part in workshops and visit a marketplace with numerous stands offering support and advice. The afternoon was dedicated to recognising and celebrating all family carers in the region for their outstanding work with Pride in Our Carers Awards.
Gillian Beasley, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire County Council & Peterborough City Council, knows first-hand about the joy and heartbreak that a carer can feel. Speaking at the event she said “The enormous contribution of our carers not only makes an invaluable difference to the people they support, it is an integral part of our health and social care system and deserves better recognition.
“Within our communities carers are vital partners, bridging the gap between health and social care services. What none of us must forget is that carers have their own needs too. We must be alert and responsive to those needs, or we risk compromising their health and wellbeing and – by association – the recipients of their care.”
Hosting the awards, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter Dotty McLeod, told carers, “We know that none of you have done all the things you did for awards or trophies. Glory is the last thing on your mind. Like the estimated 168,000 carers throughout Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk you just got on with it. But for some of you, just getting on with it wasn’t enough. It is this type of attitude which changes lives and it is this type of approach to life that we are here to recognise and celebrate today.”
Miriam Martin, CEO of Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk said: “This is a chance for the community to show their appreciation for family carers, as well as acknowledge the carer friendly GP practices, health and social care professionals, teachers, community organisations and businesses that support them.
“We want these Awards to inspire individuals, organisations and business to find out more and understand how they can better support these unsung heroes. Nobody asks to become a carer and yet, for those who do, they take on the responsibility without uttering a word of complaint. They do it because they either want to or have to but they do so because of one other over-riding reason; love”.
There were over 50 nominations from all over Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk. The categories and winners were:
Carer of the Year
Alistair McHarg, with emotional words of acceptance when presented with his award reflected on there being “love-a-plenty” in the room and his surprise at receiving it. It was completely unexpected. Alistair, now over 80 years old has looked after his wife for many years, supporting her through thick and thin. In addition, he has used his experience gained working for many years in local authority to support Rethink Carer Support.
Young Carer of the Year
As well as helping to support his mum and his younger brother James has worked hard to raise awareness of his young carers group and the needs of young carers in Norfolk. He has helped make adults (such as teachers, social workers and mental health workers) more aware, and has helped improve the support they provide to young carers. From arranging meetings with senior teachers to training adults across Norfolk, James is not afraid to speak out for Young Carers that has included appearances on Radio 1 and Radio 5 live.
Young Adult Carer of the Year
Juggling studying for a degree with caring responsibilities is a big commitment on their own but Chloe has not let that stop her. She has gained support from the Vice Chancellors, Wellbeing team, students union and local carers organisation and acts as the liaison between them to create a unified and collaborated approach that will ensure all student carers at her university have access to support. For the last nine months she has spearheaded changes and taken them beyond the university including speaking on radio stations, and representing carers on national TV such as Loose Women and she is an NHS champion.
Carer Friendly School/College
Christine Branigan & Ashleigh Wren, Peterborough Regional College
As Young Carer Ambassadors at the college, they provide information and advice to groups and individuals. They raise the profile and the issues surrounding young carers every day by wearing T shirts and talking to people. Most of all, they understand because they walk in the shoes of young carers every day and they listen.
Carer Friendly Employer
Her Majesty’s Passport Office, Peterborough
It is clear from those who have received support from the team at the Passport Office what it means to them. It can be very hard caring for someone and being able to go to work has been a lifeline for some. It has helped them keep their independence, their identity and has reduced the stress of worrying about money at a time when they are already stressed. Employees can attend groups or one-to-one sessions, they are supported with flexible working hours, in emergencies and there is always someone to talk to.
Carer Friendly Health Care Award
Dr Amar Hussain, Boroughbury Medical Centre, Peterborough
Dr Hussain sees his role at the practice as just doing his job. He accepted the award for the whole team at Boroughbury Medical Centre. Identifying and supporting carers is a very important part of his work as he is very conscious that carers often put themselves last and their health can suffer. Dr Hussain spends time with carers to ensure that they receive the support they need from the practice and organisations like Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk.
Carer Friendly Social Care Award
Sandra Abdelgalil, Philia Lodge
Sandra is a firm favourite with the residents of Philia Lodge. It’s not really surprising with all of the extra time she spends working out ways that the residents, most of whom suffer from dementia or mental health conditions, can be a part of the local community. From fresh flowers and music to organising hydrotherapy sessions and dementia gym, Sandra’s first thoughts are with others. And most of all she is a shoulder to cry on and the bearers of comforting words.
Carer Friendly Voluntary Organisation
Emma Kandjou, West Norfolk Carers
Emma knows what it is like to be a young carer. She was one herself. She started off as a volunteer for West Norfolk Carers and is now a valued member of staff in the young carers team. Young carers love talking to her because she understands but it doesn’t stop there. Emma supports whole families, making a difference to their lives. In her spare time, she raises money and organises activities that support young carers.
Special Recognition Award
Mario & Dina Schipani
Since 2009, Mario and Dina have organised, run and cooked for a lunch club at South Grove Community Centre in Peterborough. A grant from Peterborough City Council is managed carefully to ensure that the lunch club continues and volunteers willingly support it. Mario and Dina even arranged the celebrations for their 50th Wedding Anniversary around the lunch club, with over 70 members in attendance.
Outstanding Contribution to Carers Award
North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
The team based at Peterborough City Hospital are acutely aware of the problems facing carers and do everything in their power to support them. They run sessions for staff as well as visitors to the hospital, as well as a bed, they provide packs for anyone who might need to stay overnight with someone they care for and they provide parking when it is needed. Most of all, they take the time to listen and will point people in the right direction to make sure that they receive the support they need.
The whole event was a huge team effort that included event sponsors Buckles Solicitors, Serpentine Green and CareRooms; cakes made by Ramsey St Mary’s WI, vouchers from Morrisons and Waitrose and volunteers from BGL Group and Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk.
As Miriam Martin said, “we at Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk are making a huge noise on behalf of family carers, young and not so young. We can help. We are so grateful to the people, businesses and organisations that support us in any way to help us make a difference”.
If you look after someone and would like to find out more about what Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk can do to help, please contact the charity by telephone or by email and watch out for future events.