Carer of The Year Awards 2012: Help celebrate Leicestershire's unsung heroes
The Leicester Mercury is today launching a campaign to celebrate the achievements and outstanding work of thousands of unsung heroes in the care sector.
For the next 10 weeks, we are asking people to nominate carers – individuals and organisations – worthy of recognition.
Our Carer of The Year Awards are being launched in conjunction with Woods Coaches, of Wigston, and are being supported by Leicester West MP Liz Kendall, shadow minister for care and older people.
Ms Kendall said: "These awards are a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the huge contribution carers make.
"Hundreds of older and disabled people depend on unpaid care and support from their family and friends.
"The dedication and selflessness of these carers is nothing short of inspirational. They are unsung heroes and deserve our full recognition and support.
"There are also hundreds of paid care staff who are just as committed to their work.
"Many go the extra mile to look after some of the most vulnerable people in our society, yet too often we don't see or champion their work.
"Let's give them the recognition they have rightly earned."
Kevin Brown, managing director of Woods Coaches, said: "Our company is thrilled to be involved in the awards as it recognises the achievements of remarkable individuals.
"As a company which serves the people of Leicestershire, we feel excited to be part of giving these people the appreciation they deserve.
"Most people know someone who has experienced the care profession.
"I have had a relative who needed constant care at my home, then in a care home.
"This is why we look forward to recognising these people's efforts."
The awards will also raise the profile of The Carers Centre (Leicestershire & Rutland).
The charity, which was started 21 years ago in Leicester, was formerly known as Clasp (Carers of Leicestershire Advocacy and Support Project).
Charles Huddlestone, manager at The Carers Centre, in Constitution Hill, Leicester, said: "This is wonderful.
"It gives us the chance to pay tribute to people who give an awful lot to others but do not receive a lot back.
"We exist to provide care to carers. Often, they do not know where to turn. That is where we come in."
Mercury editor Richard Bettsworth said: "In our topsy-turvy world, minor celebrities receive acres of publicity, while those who make a real difference to people's lives often go unsung.
"That is why we have joined with Woods Coaches to launch the Carer of the Year Awards.
"We want to celebrate all those whose kindness and commitment helps improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in our society.
"Over the coming weeks we will be featuring their stories and we will be inviting the winners to afternoon tea at St Martin's House on January 31.
"What we need now is your nominations. If you have been moved by the kindness of a carer, please let us know. It's time to celebrate real heroes."
About the awards and how to nominate
The Carer of the Year Awards 2012 will celebrate the unselfish work done by carers, whether unpaid or professional.
The awards are made up of nine categories, all sponsored by companies.
The categories are care home worker, care home, home carer, dementia carer, young carer, voluntary sector worker, nurse, supporting independence and special recognition.
The winner of each category will be announced at a ceremony for the finalists on January 31.
Each category winner will receive a Mystery Weekend Coach Tour holiday from Woods Coaches.
There will be an overall winner named as The Carer of Year.
This overall winner will receive a Woods Coaches holiday worth £1,000, with £500 spending money, in Cornwall or the Isle of Wight.
To nominate someone, call Nikki Kandola on 0116 2224310 or e-mail her at: nikkikandola@.co.uk
Alternatively, complete the nomination form below:
Nominate your carers for one of the following categories:
Care Home Worker of the Year
Care Home of the Year
Home Carer of the Year
Dementia Carer of the Year
Young Carer of the Year
Voluntary Sector Worker of the Year
Nurse of the Year
Special Recognition Award