Carers Leeds wins national award for excellence

A charity giving support, advice and information to carers in Leeds has won a prestigious national award.

Carers Leeds has beaten more than 400 organisations from all over the UK to be one of the 10 winners of the 2017 GSK IMPACT Awards, a national award that recognises excellence in charities improving health and wellbeing in their communities. The charity picked up their award last night at a ceremony held in the Science Museum in London after taking part in a 3 day development programme from The King’s Fund.

There are 6.5 million carers across the UK supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill. There are thought to be more than 73,000 carers in Leeds, and there has been an increase in the number of carers of working age who are caring for parents. The pressures of caring contribute to significant health and wellbeing challenges, with research by Carers UK showing that 82 per cent of carers believe caring has a negative impact on their health and 55 per cent experiencing depression.

Carers Leeds is committed to improving the lives of the city’s unpaid carers and helping them to continue caring. Based in Leeds city centre, it delivers confidential one-to-one and group support, as well as advice over the phone and online.

The charity has played a key role in reshaping local services around the needs of carers. In 2014, it became the single point of access to services for carers in Leeds, which had previously been divided between five separate organisations. Carers now have just one telephone number to remember and can access a greater range of services.

Carers Leeds is determined to reach out to different groups of carers and to tailor its support to the diverse communities in the city. Identifying particular barriers to mainstream services faced by Gypsies and Travellers carrying out caring roles, Carers Leeds staff have been introduced to a local Gypsy and Traveller site and engaged with the community in promoting information and advice.

The charity also runs other specialist projects, including training for carers of people with living with dementia, and support for bereaved carers and those affected by the substance or alcohol abuse of someone they know.

Lisa Weaks, Head of Third Sector at The King’s Fund, said:

‘As more and more people take on caring responsibilities, organisations like Carers Leeds provide crucial support.

‘Carers Leeds has demonstrated excellent leadership in developing new and improved approaches to meeting the needs of carers. By becoming the single point of access for carers in Leeds, it’s helping people navigate a complex system and receive the advice and support they need. It’s a very impressive accomplishment.’

Val Hewison, Chief Executive of Carers Leeds, said:

‘We’re all extremely proud of our success and the recognition the GSK IMPACT Award brings to our work supporting carers.

‘This achievement has been possible only because of the fantastic team at Carers Leeds, who are committed to supporting people who use our services. We’re determined to keep growing and developing our support to make things better for carers. Winning the GSK IMPACT Award will spur us on even further.’

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