Nominations open for Northamptonshire's Carers Awards
There are around 70,000 unpaid carers in Northants looking after loved ones with disabilities, special needs, or mental health conditions and the awards recognises these unsung heroes.
Mark Major, CEO of Northamptonshire Carers, said the 2019 awards were a great success. He said: "We were absolutely thrilled that so many people put forward nominations.
"Carers do a vital job and these awards help raise their profile and awareness of the amazing work these people do, often in extremely challenging circumstances."
The coronavirus pandemic has created extra challenges for carers this year and Northamptonshire Carers said carers have been affected more than most people.
The Carers Support Line has provided an outlet and many have called to access emotional and practical support while isolating with a shielding loved one, difficulties with accessing essential food and supplies, financial struggles and a lack of respite.
If you know a carer who has gone above and beyond during this difficult year, you can nominate them in the following categories.
The categories are the Jane Roebuck Carer of the Year award for those aged 18 or over, the Young Carer of the Year for those aged under 18, the Shining Star award for professionals, volunteers or a team that has gone the extra mile to support carers, and the Working Carer of the Year award for those balancing employment with an unpaid caring role.
The ceremony will also recognise GP surgeries and employers who have supported carers with an Investing in Carers accreditation certificate.
The awards ceremony is usually held at Barton Hall, Kettering, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the awards will be virtual this year.
A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend in need. Carers can find themselves in the role suddenly after a change in situation, while for others the responsibilities can grow over time as loved ones struggle to manage on their own for longer.
Caring can vary a lot, some carers might help out for a few hours a week by helping with shopping or meals, while others provide round-the-clock support.
Northamptonshire Carers say while the role can be rewarding, it can also have a big and damaging impact on a person's health, finances and relationships.
Nationally, 68 per cent of carers use their own income to cover the costs associated with caring. The 2019 Carers UK State of Caring Report found that 39 per cent of carers struggle to make ends meet and half of all carers cannot save for their retirement.
Northamptonshire Carers say those caring for others show amazing levels of dedication, love and support for friends and relative in need all while sometimes balancing education and employment commitments.
If you are a carer or know someone who needs support in a caring role, you can visit Northamptonshire Carer's website here.
To nominate a Northamptonshire carer in one of the categories, you can complete an online form here.
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