MP Alistair Burt helps celebrate ten years of building a carer-friendly Bedfordshire

MBTC- Alistair Burt at Carers in Beds
MBTC- Alistair Burt at Carers in Beds

MP Alistair Burt, the Minister of State for Community and Social Care, visited Carers in Bedfordshire’s

Bedford office today (June 12), to mark the charity’s 1oth anniversary.

The visit also coincided with Carers Week, an annual recognition of the loving care

undertaken by millions of unpaid family carers looking after a family member or friend who cannot manage

without them.

Mr Burt, MP for North East Beds, heard about the charity’s work supporting carers of all ages and met a number of carers. Anne

Grant, 70, of Renhold has cared for her husband for over 23 years. She has benefited in many ways from

the charity’s support. She said: “I had already been caring for my severely disabled husband for 13 years

before I became involved with Carers in Bedfordshire. The support offered by other carers was a lifeline

and the laughter was a real tonic. As the years have gone on I have become involved as a volunteer. The

opportunity to help someone else, because of everything we had been through, somehow gave some point

to it all. Volunteering with such a brilliant organisation takes you out of yourself and gives some social

contact and the opportunity to use your brain which I value enormously.”

In line with the theme of this year’s Carers Week – Building Carer Friendly Communities – Carers in

Bedfordshire highlighted their work supporting Bedford Hospital to be more carer friendly. They

showed Mr Burt the new Carers Information Pack, co-produced with the hospital and launched on Wednesday.

They discussed their work supporting young carers – both in school and out – and showcased how the

range of volunteering opportunities they offer helps build a carer friendly community.

Lorraine Young, 47, from Kempston, volunteers as a dementia befriender. She says: “I take the lady I visit for short walks, read

to her or we do craft making.  This has made a huge difference to the Carer and allows them to have a

small amount of time for respite, catching up on housework, visiting friends or pottering in the garden. The

most rewarding thing of all is seeing her smile during my visit, this fills me with pride and is so rewarding.”

Carers attending the 20 events held by the charity across Bedfordshire this week have been able to register

their interest in having a Carers Discount Card, a new scheme being launched by the charity. CEO Helen

Satterthwaite told Mr Burt: “We are delighted to be launching this scheme which gives the community the

chance to reward Bedfordshire’s unpaid family carers for what they do. We invite retailers, leisure centres,

all areas of the community to get in touch with us and show their support for Bedfordshire’s unpaid family

carers by being part of this scheme.”

More information on Carers in Bedfordshire and their Carers Week activities can be found at the

organisation’s website, www.carersinbeds.org.uk