‘Our unpaid carers are the absolute bedrock of society’

Val Hewison, chief executive of Carers Leeds.
Val Hewison, chief executive of Carers Leeds.
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They are some of the most genuine and selfless people of society, who often put the needs of others before their own.

And today, to mark the end of the national Carers Week 2017 campaign, the YEP is highlighting the vital role that unpaid carers play in our city.

It is estimated that more than 75,000 people are carers in Leeds, and a large portion of those people do the job unpaid for a relative or close friend.

The Carers Leeds organisation supports 11,000 carers in the city, running courses and offering advice and support to ensure carers themselves are looked after.

Paul Radcliffe, 40, is one of thousands of people to take part in the organisation’s health and wellbeing courses.

His 79-year-old dad suffers from the eye condition macular degeneration, which leads to loss of vision.

He has cared for him since his mum died six years ago, following a battle with cancer.

“I do all the cleaning stuff, make sure has his medication, that he is eating properly and check he is going to his appointments.

“He has an alarm around his neck so that if he ever falls they will call me.”

Mr Radcliffe, who lives with his dad in East End Park, is a trained actor, but now works part-time in train maintenance to ensure he’s available to care for his dad when needed.

He added: “My advice to others would be to acknowledge that you are a carer, if you are.

“You have to look after yourself first, before you can look after others.”

Val Hewison, chief executive of Carers Leeds, said: “To me, carers are the absolute bedrock of our society.

“They work tirelessly to keep their loved ones well, keeping them safe, out of hospitals and away from GP surgeries in many cases.

“But if they know there is information, advice and support out there to help them in their caring role we will have done our job.”

Carers Leeds supports thousands of unpaid workers in the city.

The organisation is based at The Headrow in the city centre and offers courses, advice and support to help people manage, and understand the responsibility of being a carer.

Chief executive Val Hewison said: “Here at Carers Leeds we support over 11,000 carers.

“So although we must always do more, we are a fantastic team of workers who are all committed to make sure all carers across Leeds know about our service.”