COMMUNITY pharmacy chain LloydsPharmacy has partnered with charity Carers UK to launch the inaugural National Carers Awards and is looking for nominations from Torbay, where 16,107 people provide unpaid care for family, friends or neighbours.
It is estimated those caring for loved ones who are older, seriously ill or disabled save the UK economy £119billion a year, £1.4billion a year in Devon alone.
With more than six million people in the UK providing unpaid care - a figure predicted to rise by 3.4 million within 30 years – the awards are designed to celebrate the hugely important and often little recognised role carers play in society.
Nominations for the National Carers Awards are now open and LloydsPharmacy, together with Carers UK want to encourage people from Torbay to nominate someone they think deserves special recognition for their role in caring for a family member or a friend.
For example, an individual could nominate their mum who is devoted to caring for their dad, a colleague looking after their elderly neighbour, a young adult helping care for a disabled sibling or grandparent or a carer who has set up a support group to help other carers.
Whatever the situation, LloydsPharmacy and Carers UK want to hear their stories so that they can be celebrated and given the recognition they deserve.
Andrew Mawhinney, pharmacist at LloydsPharmacy Barton Hill Road, Torquay, commented: “As a pharmacist I have seen first-hand the sort of dedication that carers show towards their loved ones. One of our customers devoted his life to looking after a family member, even giving up his job, and I think this sort of selflessness typifies what many carers do every day.
"I urge people across Devon to get behind this campaign so we can say a well-deserved ‘thank you’ to those who do so much to improve the lives of others.”
Heléna Herklots Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “Caring for an older or disabled loved one can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be tough and too often carers care alone without the support and recognition they deserve.
"Carers are the bedrock of our families and our communities, with many finding time to support other carers in their area on top of their caring responsibilities.
It is vital we highlight the challenges and rewards of caring, and celebrate the contribution of carers across the UK – as without the care they provide, the NHS and social care services would collapse.”
Each of the five winners will receive an all expenses paid break in London, staying at a five star hotel and attending a gala dinner where they will be presented with a trophy. They will also receive a £1,000 worth of high street vouchers.
To nominate a carer for the National Carers Awards please visit www.LloydsPharmacy.co.uk/thanksforcaring to complete an online nomination form or pick up a leaflet in your local LloydsPharmacy store.
The deadline for nominations is 23.59pm on Saturday April 26 2014 and the awards will take place at the London Marriott Hotel 10th June 2014. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Carers UK.