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Carers Trust marks 50 years of caring for carers

Carers Trust will be at the Old Bailey tonight for the first in a series of events marking fifty years since the setting up of the UK's first support organisation for unpaid family carers. 

Carers Trust - which now partners with a network of over 120 local carer organisations supporting nearly one million unpaid carers - has its roots in the ATV series, Crossroads. The hit series centred on the Crossroads Motel and starred Noele Gordon, recently portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter in ITV drama Nolly, as the motel owner Meg.

A 1973 Crossroads plot saw Meg’s son Sandy, played by Roger Tonge, left paralysed after a car crash. Meg’s life was turned upside down when she had to stay at home to care for him and she eventually set up a fictional “Caring for Carers” scheme which led to a stream of mail from viewers asking about it.

The storyline prompted Noel Crane, a disabled man from Rugby who was being cared for at home by his mother, to write to the programme makers. He complimented them on the realistic portrayal of the needs of disabled people and those caring unpaid for them.

ATV took him on as an adviser on disability issues and then donated £10,000 to set up a pilot project in Rugby that aimed to provide unpaid family carers with practical support.

The resulting charity, Crossroads Care, supported 26 families and its success led to the creation of many more Crossroads Care schemes. By 2012 Crossroads Care was supporting more than 43,000 carers and their families through its network of schemes.

In 2012, Crossroads Care merged with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers – founded on the initiative of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in 1991 - to form Carers Trust. Carers Trust now works with a network of over 120 local carer organisations across the UK, supporting close to one million people.

The charity provides funding and support, delivers innovative programmes and raises awareness of the challenges faced by millions of unpaid carers in the UK. Its vision is that unpaid carers are heard and valued, with access to support, advice and resources to enable them to have fulfilling lives alongside their caring role.

But research shows how unpaid carers are still facing huge challenges. A recent Carers Trust survey of unpaid adult carers showed many are being pushed into poverty, with almost two-thirds having to cut back on working hours or give up employment completely. A separate Carers Trust report this month showed more than half of young and young adult carers are now caring for longer than before, with 47% also looking after more people than they used to.

Carers Trust will hold the first in a series of events marking its anniversary with a reception for carers, local organisations and supporters at the Old Bailey in central London on Wednesday 29 March.

Carers Trust’s CEO, Kirsty McHugh, said:

“Our 50th anniversary allows us to take stock of how far we’ve come from the plotline of a TV show to working with a network of support organisations that spans the UK. However, we’re all too aware there’s far more to be done to transform the lives of unpaid carers. From lobbying for better financial support and the provision of respite breaks to facilitating grants for necessities during the cost-of-living crisis, our work is needed more than ever.

“As our unusual history shows, Carers Trust is a charity that has always evolved to meet the challenges faced by millions of people who look after sick and disabled loved ones. We will continue to innovate to meet the challenges faced by unpaid carers and we will be here for as long as they need us.”

For further information, and to arrange interviews with Carers Trust spokespeople, please contact:

Mark Chandler, mchandler@carers.org and 07712 427808

Matt Whitticase, mwhitticase@carers.org and 07824 539481


About Carers Trust

Carers Trust is the UK charity working to transform the lives of unpaid carers across the UK.  It partners with its network of local carer organisations to provide funding and support, deliver innovative and evidence-based programmes and raise awareness and influence policy.​ Carers Trust’s vision is that unpaid carers are heard and valued, with access to support, advice and resources to enable them to live fulfilled lives.

Carers Trust hosts the Young Carers Alliance, a network of over 150 organisations and 300 individuals committed to improving identification and support for young carers and young adult carers. Carers Trust also hosts the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance, an informal network of young carers services across Scotland. It has 51 members who provide support to young carers.


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