The new leader of an award-winning Yorkshire charity is calling for greater awareness and recognition of carers within the workplace – and society as a whole.
Chris Whiley, Director of Carers’ Resource, which offers tailor-made support, information and services to unpaid carers in Craven, Harrogate and Ripon, Bradford, Wharfedale and Airedale, is succeeding charity founder Anne Smyth, who is retiring at the end of November.
Formerly the Chief Executive of Visyon, a Cheshire charity which supports children and young people, and a former Assistant Director of Children’s Services in Bradford, Mrs Whiley said she was ‘privileged and delighted’ to be at the helm.
Chris Whiley said:
From seeing the advert for the role, and throughout the recruitment and selection process I felt very much at home. It was energising.
I’m acutely aware of the responsibility I have following in Anne’s footsteps as she has put her heart and soul into Carers’ Resource, and fortunately, as I’ve got to know her over the summer I realise we’re not a million miles apart – we’re quite similar in our approach.
Mrs Whiley added she would continue to push for greater recognition of carers, to fight their rights and to help ensure they have a ‘quality of life’.
People of any background can be a carer and each and every one of them has needs, it’s not about wealth or upbringing, it’s about needing support and the right support for that individual.
Everyone needs to be recognising the important role and the contribution carers make – employers need to make across-the-board action to support employees to be both good carers and effective members of the workforce.
When asked about local and national governmental cost-cutting, Chris Whiley said:
We’ve got to be focusing on prevention, for example going into hospital is expensive and there are a range of interventions that can prevent it from happening.
Early intervention, planning ahead, and making plans while we’re fit and well is what we all need to be doing.
Mrs Whiley said as a teenager she was a young carer for brother, Richard, who died of leukaemia when he was six years old.
Chris Whiley said:
We lived in the country, it was very remote. My mum was always at the hospital with him, which was 40 miles away. As I was the oldest I was running the home, and looking after siblings and going to school, as my dad was working.
There was no support available for any of us and it really was a traumatic time for us all. It had a big impact on the whole family, then and afterwards.
Mrs Whiley has been working closely with Mrs Smyth over the past few weeks before Anne starts her retirement on December 1.
She is also visiting some carers’ groups and meeting carers, and said she was happy for carers to introduce themselves when she’s seen out and about or in the charity’s offices.
- Carers’ Resource was founded in 1995 by Anne Smyth with four members of staff in Harrogate – and this year marks the charity’s 20th anniversary.
- It has now grown to a nationally-renowned carer centre with more than 90 staff, 200 volunteers, and has served 30,000 carers across the Craven, Harrogate and Ripon, Bradford and Airedale areas of Yorkshire.
- It is a local charity supporting unpaid carers in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, and also in Harrogate and Ripon, through one-to-one support, casework, information, support groups, employment and training advice, planning for emergencies and wellbeing www.carersresource.org
- Anyone can become a carer at any time. Three in five of us will become a carer in our lifetime; carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age. Men are almost as likely as women to be carers – 42% of carers are men.
- The caring role can be instant, i.e. the result of a road traffic accident, a stroke or it can creep up on someone, such as when an elderly parent becomes increasingly frail.
- There are more than three million carers in the UK who are juggling work and caring responsibilities.
For more information visit www.careresresource.org