AS many as one-in-five people juggle their work with a role as an unpaid carer.
And now devoted carers from across Bradford District are to share in a grant scheme worth almost £200,000 launched today to promote their own health and well-being.
The growing number of unpaid carers in Bradford, Airedale and parts of Wharfedale can apply for up to £200 each to enable them to have a well-earned break from the day-to-day pressures of looking after a loved one.
The money can be used to go on a small break, take up a pastime or hobby, or enable carers to do something they had always wanted but never had the opportunity, such as learning a new skill.
Successful applicants from last year’s scheme are throwing their weight behind the initiative and are urging as many other carers to follow in their footsteps and make an application as it made such a difference to their lives.
“It was an enormous help to me. I find the baths offer me the space and solitude where I can just refocus and regroup.”
Lesley Ogden, of Cullingworth, near Keighley, is a carer for both her son and her mother-in-law.
Her grant was spent on attending an International Belly Dancing Festival in Saltaire and taking part in some workshops, as well as having a relaxing massage.
“The belly dancing class I attend on a Monday at Oakbank School keeps me going every week, and the chance to add an extra dimension to this by going to the festival and learning from the world’s best belly dancers was a fantastic opportunity for me.”
The charity’s head of administration and facilities, Heather Smith, said scope for applications was broad and carers should identify something to improve the quality of their own personal health and well-being.
“It could be a gym membership or signing up to an art class, some exercise or relaxation videos, or maybe a laptop to keep in touch with friends and family further afield.
“We know from those who have benefited in the past that a relatively small amount of money can go a long way and make a real and lasting difference to their lives.”
More than 1,000 carers are expected to benefit from the scheme and they have until December 20 to submit their application.
It is open to anyone within Bradford district who cares for a family member, relative, friend or neighbour who suffers with a physical or mental health problem, drug or alcohol addiction, or simply due to frailty and old age.
Preference will be given to carers who have not received a Carer’s Small Grant within the past 12 months. The money cannot be used to pay for services, aids or adaptations for the cared-for person.
Application forms can be obtained by calling 01274 965883 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org