The Princess Royal was in Cheshire, last week, and among her visits was one to the Halton Carers Centre. Adult Social Care has seldom been out of the headlines this year, and the Princess was visiting the centre to see the assistance they gave carers. Nearly two-thirds of people in the United Kingdom will be an unpaid carer at some point in their lives. Currently, there are around 7 million unpaid carers in the UK with 2.1 million providing over 20 hours caring each week – 700,000 are under 18. It is important that these carers do not feel isolated and that there is a place like the centre that they can turn to for advice, friendship and support.
The Carers Trust was formed in 1991 as an initiative by the Princess Royal as The Princess Royal Trust for Carers. The organisation changed the name to the Carers Trust in 2012 when it merged with Crossroads Care. The Trust through around 150 centres, like Halton provide a valuable back up and resource for carers both with the centres and online resources. The organisation is the largest organisation in the United Kingdom to provide such a comprehensive support for carers.
During her visit, the Princess met several carers including Linda Mannion, who cares for her husband, she said ‘The Princess was lovely. She asked about my caring role and I was able to tell her about the support from the carers centre where the staff always give us time.’ The Princess Royal and carers were also entertained to a performance of highlights from “Les Misérables” by the Ella Performance Group which is an inclusive group for young people and adults with learning disabilities.
Before she left the centre, she unveiled a plaque to celebrate her visit, and she received a posy from Andrew Telford. Forty-Six year-old Andrew suffers from cerebral palsy and is cared for by his sister, Diane, who also has some caring responsibilities for their mother.