This week is National Carers Week and it’s estimated that one in eight people in Scotland have an unpaid caring role. People just like Bobbie Denny, 22, from Dundee who cares for her mother Nichola, 47, and brother 19 year-old David, 19, who both have Alports Syndrome; a genetic disorder that affects the kidneys and can cause hearing loss as well as other complications.
At the Big Lottery Fund, Scotland we are acutely aware of the impact caring can have, on individuals, families and communities. That’s why we have spent almost £20million in National Lottery Good Cause funds on 59 projects to support Scottish carers over the last seven years and it’s why we are committed to supporting carers in the future.
Bobbie, who also has Alports Syndrome, told how her role as carer impacts on her life, “My Alports doesn’t really affect me that much to be honest. I have always looked after my mum and my brother; it’s all I have ever known really. My mum can be really affected and she’s also got arthritis and has had a pacemaker fitted. When David gets ill he can be in bed for days on end. All throughout school I used to get up every day about five or six in the morning to get myself organised so I could then get everyone else sorted.”
When she was 16, Bobbie was referred to the Dundee Carers Centre by Barnados and they have been helping her cope ever since. The Centre received £646,985 from Big Lottery Fund in 2011 to help young adult carers.
She said, “It made a big difference straight away. They have always been there whenever I need them and have given me confidence and encouragement to do the things I have always wanted to do, like getting my provisional driving licence and going to get regular exercise at the gym. They have also been helping me think about my future career and helping to get on short courses at college. For the first time I am actually beginning to think about my own future now and I really want to study forensic science when my daughter is a bit older.
“If you asked me what difference Dundee Carers Centre has made to me I really couldn’t put it into words. They have been so good with me and, if it wasn’t for them, I would still be in the same position with no-one to help me. If I could get a message out to other young people like me it’s that they should go and look for help and see what’s out there.”
Jackie Killeen Big Lottery Fund Scotland Director says, “At the Big Lottery Fund we know how vital the role of carers is in enabling people who need care to safe in their own homes for longer. We also understand that becoming a carer is not always a choice and that it can often leave people feeling isolated, lonely and vulnerable.
“Through our funding we want to make sure that we offer support to people and communities across Scotland facing the greatest need. Over the last seven years we have funded 59 different projects working with carers, young and old, with £19,189,261.
“One of the differences we want our funding to make is to give greater support to people so they can participate fully in their community and live a fulfilling life, and that underpins our to commitment and long term support for carers and caring projects.”
The Big Lottery Fund, Scotland wants to support projects which focus on the people who care, young carers and those who are caring for the first time. To find out more:
www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/scotland or email firstname.lastname@example.org