They work tirelessly, often for little reward – but now the YEP Best of Health Awards wants to give carers the recognition they deserve.
We’re calling for nominations in the carer of the year category, which is being sponsored by Spire Methley Park Hospital.
Both unpaid and paid carers can be put forward for this honour, as long as they go that extra mile for those they care for.
Unpaid carers looking after family or friends are estimated to save the country billions of pounds each year, but the toll this can take on the carers themselves is high.
Research by Carers UK has found 60 per cent of unpaid carers say they have reached “breaking point” and a quarter needed medical treatment as a result.
In Leeds, more than 7,500 unpaid carers are supported by Carers Leeds – but it is estimated that the number across the city could total around 70,000.
Val Hewison, chief executive officer at Carers Leeds, said it was a huge challenge to reach the “hidden army”.
“Many people don’t see themselves as carers, – they see themselves as a husband, wife, parent, son or daughter, doing what they need to do, what anyone would do for a loved one or friend.
“But it is important, however, that people who are caring identify themselves as a carer, so that they can access the information, advice and support that is available to them if they need it.
“The unpaid family carers are not care professionals, just decent and loving friends or family trying very, very hard to do the right thing for the ones closest to them.”
Last year’s winner was Annie Dransfield, who was honoured for supporting her adult son, who has additional needs, as well as her elderly parents.
Her demanding caring role had affected her own physical health, but she still manages to also campaign on behalf of other carers.
Other categories in the awards include for doctors, nurses, dentists, teams and pharmacists.