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Calls for more awards to recognise unpaid carers in Norfolk

Broadland Community at Heart Awards 2015. Carer of the Year award winner David Gibbs with Lisa Gibbs who nominated him. Photo: Angela Sharpe Photography

Broadland Community at Heart Awards 2015. Carer of the Year award winner David Gibbs with Lisa Gibbs who nominated him. Photo: Angela Sharpe Photography

Angela Sharpe Photography

A group which supports carers in Norfolk has called for more councils and organisations to consider a category for unpaid carers when putting together local community award schemes.

David Gibbs, 30, from Taverham won Broadland district Council’s Carer of the Year award in 2015, recognition which he said means a lot.

Mr Gibbs cares for his wife 29-year-old Lisa, who has ME which came on suddenly after a bout of flu.

She went from being fit and active to being bed-bound overnight. Mr Gibb was thrown into the deep end as an unpaid carer.

Mr Gibbs said: “With there being little care for my wife’s condition, being recognised by my community has meant a huge deal to me, I feel valued and reminded that people do care about us. We may be isolated but we are not alone and my award is a daily reminder of this.”

Joy Salter, 66, from Acle cared for her daughter Zoe, who has learning difficulties, for 38 years and now cares for her 76-year-old husband John who has a range of health issues, including osteoarthritis, heart and blood problems. She said: “Unpaid carers save the community thousands of pounds every year because they’re often looking after someone who might, otherwise, receive even more support from local health and social services. Carers keep going regardless - even if they suffer health or emotional problems themselves - so we welcome nominations from the local community for this award because it means acknowledgement of their role and contribution.”

Jo Phillips, from Norfolk Carers, added: “It’s really important to raise the profile of unpaid carers. Often people will go months or years before seeking help because they’re unaware there is even a name for what they are doing. By rewarding those people who care for a friend or family member, it not only acknowledges their efforts but means other unpaid carers may understand their role better and reach for support more readily.”

Already, Broadland have the category, and Norfolk Carers is urging residents of Broadland to look around in their community and identify anyone who is working hard to look after a friend or family member, who may also find themselves isolated, and consider nominating them for this award.

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