The opportunity to enter the first ever Scottish Social Services Awards closes on 28 February 2017, and we are delighted to be supporting the Policy Focus Special Award which this year will be awarded to a Carers Champion.

We strongly encourage you to enter or to nominate an individual, team or organisation championing the rights and interests of carers in Scotland.

Anyone can become a carer at any time, and at any age – from a young child to the very elderly – and the person they care for may be affected by disability, physical or mental health issues, frailty, or by substance misuse.

For some carers this can be a life-long caring role, but others may care for shorter periods of time.

But it's clear that, regardless of their age or the challenges that their caring role may bring, an unpaid carer is also a citizen who has the same rights as everyone else, and someone who is entitled to a life alongside caring.

Recognition for inspirational carers

The introduction of the Carers Act will help secure a more sustainable future for carers in Scotland and we are delighted to see the fundamental importance of this change – and the work of unpaid carers across Scotland – being recognised through the Carers Champion Award* at the first Scottish Social Services Awards.

Through our work with carers, we continue to be amazed and inspired by the numerous people and organisations working across Scotland to champion the rights of the unpaid carers they support.

The work that they do, both with supporting carers, but also ensuring that their voices are heard loud and clear across Scotland is well worth the recognition of the Carers Champions Award.

You can enter at www.sssa.scot/categories and find more information on Twitter @SSSAwards

Your entries must be made by 28 February 2017.

*This award is sponsored by the National Carer Organisations in Scotland comprised of: Carers Scotland, Carers Trust Scotland, Coalition of Carers in Scotland, Crossroads Caring Scotland, MECOPP, Shared Care Scotland and the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance.