The dedication and devotion of inspirational carers and the people and organisations who support them have been honoured during the first ever Pride in Our Cares Awards in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
A woman who selflessly cares for her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease and for her daughter who has cerebral palsy has been named Carer of the Year. Helen Hewett was presented with her award by Dr Jane Hawking, former wife of Prof Stephen Hawking, at the Pride in Our Carers Awards to mark national Carers Week.
Helen, 48, from Upwood, near Ramsey, attends to Tom and Lily’s personal care needs around the clock each day. She helps her daughter lead as normal a life as possible, taking her shopping and on holiday. She takes her husband to a support group and hospital appointments.
She said, “The award means recognition for everything I have done and shows that it hasn’t gone unnoticed and has been appreciated.”
Lily, 27, nominated her mother, saying: “Mum carers for me and dad 24/7 and is always kind and loves us, and we love her. We couldn’t cope without her.”
The judges said: “Helen is a sandwich carer with multiple caring roles. Caring for two people is hard enough for anyone. She clearly makes a positive difference.”
The Pride in Our Carers Awards presentation was held during a major Sharing the Caring event for family carers organised jointly by Carers Trust Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust at the C3 Centre in Cambridge on Tuesday 7 June.
Other awards were presented to:
Young Carer of the Year: Margaret Woodward, 16
Her nominator said: “Margaret cares for her two older brothers. Despite having a disability herself, she carries out personal care for her brothers as well as keeping them company.
“Margaret is always ready with a smile and emotionally supports her father, assuming a maternal role without complaint.”
Carer Friendly Employer: David Maroto, of Cyrus Audio, Ermine Business Park, Huntingdon
His nominator said: “The flexibility and understanding that Cyrus Audio has shown has taken a considerable weight off the shoulders of both the carer and the person they care for. This support has enabled them to still work despite the amount of care required and the impact this has.”
Carer Friendly Health Award: Aileen Regaldo, Hinchingbrooke Hospital Accident & Emergency Department
Her nominator said: “Aileen and the rest of A&E treat carers like they are partner in care. They understand the true meaning of person-centred care collaboration and co-production. By illiciting vital caring information, they were able to treat the patient effectively rather than stepping away to look up their medical history.”
Carer Friendly Social Care: Karen Bennett and Alan Jerom
Their nominator, Ruth Higginson, said: “Karen and Alan provide respite care for my two severely disabled young girls meaning they are often deprived of sleep. They have allowed their home to be adapted and it is often taken up with bulky equipment but they never complain. Karen and Alan really love the girls. This selfless couple are one in a million and do an amazing job. Without Karen and Alan, I cannot imagine how our family would even begin to function.”
Carer Friendly Voluntary Organisation: Lesley Cuthbert, Care Network
Lesley’s nominator said: “Lesley constantly strives to do the best for carers. She actively searches out carers and refers them to the relevant agencies and follows up to ensure they are supported. Lesley is dedicated to carers and all members of the community who can benefit from the different types of support available. Lesley exemplifies partnership working at its best.”
Carer Friendly School: Mrs Kathy Bradford, Hinchingbrooke School, Huntingdon
Their nominator said: “Kathy works hard to recognise and support young carers at the school. Kathy ensures she is always around to talk to young carers often checks on how they are doing and is always interested in what they are doing outside school. Kathy waves the flag for young carers at Hinchingbrooke School.”
In addition, two other awards were presented: the Outstanding Contribution to Carers Award given by CPFT was awarded to Elizabeth Mitchell, lead governor for service users and carers with CPTF; a Special Recognition Award was dedicated to all Carers Ambassadors who support Carers Trust Cambridgeshire and Carers Trust Peterborough.
Dr Hawking spoke about children with autism and their families, saying the condition places a huge challenge on carers, putting parents under great stress. She urged strangers not to turn their back if they were out and saw a mother with an autistic child struggling, saying the parent could be desperate, and that any offer of help would be gratefully received.
Dr Helen Brown, Chief Executive of Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, said it was a fantastic day and the Awards were a chance to highlight some heartfelt true stories about the lives of family carers of all ages.
She said: “It was very moving to hear about the lives of our devoted and dedicated carers. The Awards were not just about rewarding people, it was about letting the world know how important they are and how vital their care and support is to the people who receive it.
“We were repeatedly told by the nominators how grateful they were for the fantastic help and support they were given freely and with love by carers, and as a society we are so indebted to them all.”
The #ThinkYoungCarer group introduced their “A day in the life of a Young Carer” film which is animated through Lego.
The day would not have been such a success without the kind generosity of our sponsors and supporters who we would like to thank: Sainsbury’s, Girton WI, for providing home made cakes; and prizes donated by Optimum Beauty of St Ives; The Old Bridge Hotel, Huntingdon; Odeon Cinema; New Look and Wyevale Garden Centre.