Local Carer Wins National Award

Recognised for her dedication juggling young and elderly care needs in her family


Find out more about the British Caregiver Award and see the full list of winners

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A local woman has been recognised in the British Caregiver Award, a scheme created by National Accident Helpline to shine a light on the dedication shown by the UK’s 5.8 million unpaid carers.

judith sheppard and her friend Karen at a national award  event for carer's

(l-r) Judith and her friend Karen

Judith Sheppard, 54, from Chiswick, cares for her son Stuart, who is 20, and her mother-in-law, who is over 90. Judith won a trophy and £100 as one of 11 special recognition awards. 

She said: “I was really surprised to receive the award. I would like to thank my friend Karen Adams very much for nominating me. I haven’t really given too much thought to my role as a carer until recently. 

"My elderly mother in law had been ill and came to live with us around the same time as my disabled son came along 20 years ago. We are a close family and we just accepted that we have to muddle along as best we can."

Judith juggles young and elderly care needs, as she cares both for her son Stuart, who has the genetic condition FOXG1 (a seizure disorder which affects speech & language, co-ordination and learning), and her elderly mother-in-law, who has complex care needs. 

Judith is the Chair of Trustees for a charity to raise awareness of FOXG1 Syndrome (www.foxg1.uk), a newly recognised condition, and is co-founder of the Our Barn youth club for young people with learning difficulties. 

She added: "Being a carer is not something that you choose to do. It is something that you have to accept and get on with. It was only when I was seriously ill in 2013 that I realised how dependent we are on everything running smoothly. 

"Fortunately, I have a fantastic group of friends who I have met through my caring role. No matter what their own caring responsibilities are, they are always the first ones to step forward to offer both practical help and emotional support. 

"I am really proud to be able to accept the award but I would not be able to do it without the support of my very special group of friends so the award is as much for them as it is for me."

Independent research, commissioned by National Accident Helpline, highlighted the serious lack of respite unpaid carers receive from their caring role, with 1 in 3 never having a break and 73% having one week or less of respite each year.

National Accident Helpline Managing Director and chair of the judging panel Simon Trott said: “We knew from our research, and through our work helping people who have suffered a personal injury, that unpaid carers face enormous challenges, many of them carrying out their caring role seven days a week without a break for months and even years.

"We were very moved by Judith’s outstanding care for her family, as well as juggling her own commitments and health issues, and her work with young people."

June 11, 2016

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