Diverse Doncaster unpaid carers win region-wide award

A diverse team of Doncaster volunteers have been named unpaid carers of the year at the Great Yorkshire & Humber Care Awards.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 7:51 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 6:05 pm
Award presenter Steve Walls, Cath Magee, service manager, Making Space, volunteer Ramesh Pabial, carer support worker Rosemary Stephen, volunteer Joyce Williams, Beverley Proctor and Cecilia Anim

A diverse team of Doncaster volunteers have been named unpaid carers of the year at the Great Yorkshire & Humber Care Awards.

The Doncaster Carers Reach Out BAME volunteers, who work on behalf of adult health and social care charity Making Space, were recognised for the work they do to keep a local carers social group thriving and growing each week.

The group, which was set up by carer support worker Rosemary Stephen in June 2019, meets every Friday morning at Hall Gate URC Community Hall, on Hall Gate in the centre of Doncaster.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Attendance is free of charge and carers from any background across Doncaster can access support - both practical and emotional - or just come for a chat and to make new friends.

Rosemary said: “It’s a very active group, and the members are very supportive of each other. Some of the carers haven’t been out of Doncaster, and there are a lot of people within the community who aren’t able to get out because of their caring responsibilities. Our volunteers make sure there’s something for everyone to enjoy and look forward to every week, as well as giving them training and information to help them with their daily lives and care duties.

“They were so thrilled to be recognised with this award. As a group, they’re just happy to be able to support each other, so they were amazed to be nominated for an award, let alone to win it.”

The volunteers who won the award are Shamin Akhtar, Joyce Williams, Ramesh Pabial, Najat Egla, Lynne Marie Davies, Corina Molson, Kelly Rousso, Carla-Marie Fletcher, Christine Nee, Kaye Devy, Ruba Choudhury and Munir Akhtar.

Between them, the women speak eight languages: Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic, French, Bulgarian, Polish and English. They travel from all over Doncaster to volunteer their time and experience, including Wheatley, Belle Vue, Bessacarr, Highfields, Balby and Adwick le Street.

Four of the women attended the ceremony with Rosemary, which was held at the National Railway Museum in York.

The award judges said of the team: “These volunteers are all carers or former carers themselves and they understand the additional barriers facing carers from BAME communities. They remember being isolated in their own homes, not accessing the services available to them, not getting the information and advice they needed and not getting the peer support that helps carers to cope with their caring roles.”

Rosemary said: “This award brings our organisation and our work into the picture and recognises that even when there are unhappy circumstances, there can be good outcomes. The other major benefit for us is that it raises awareness, which means more people can see we’re here. We’re already seeing a big rise in enquiries since the award. It also means we’re more visible for potential funding, so we can provide more activities for the group.”

Cath Magee, service manager, Making Space, said: “The Doncaster carers BAME group does the most amazing job supporting carers in the community. As the judges recognised, these women understand the demands placed on carers and the additional barriers facing people from BAME communities. We are incredibly grateful that they choose to use their understanding to support others, and we’re very proud of their thoroughly deserved achievements.”

The team will now be in with a chance of winning the national finals in the Great British Care Awards, which will be held at the Birmingham ICC in March 2020.

To get in touch with the Doncaster Carers Reach Out BAME group, call T: 01302 986900 or email [email protected]