Congratulations to Robert Frowen on becoming the national winner of the Marsh Awards for Carers for 2017. He was chosen for the prestigious national award by Blackpool Carers Centre.

The Marsh Award for Carers is an annual award run by Carers Trust and the Marsh Christian Trust to celebrate carers and former carers who volunteer their time to support others in their community.

Each year Carers Trust chooses a winner from each region, and from these winners the Marsh Christian Trust choose one to be the national winner.

The Marsh Award for Carers 2017 regional winners:

Alan Lindsley – Sunderland Carers Centre (North East & Yorkshire)

Annie Carpenter – The Carers’ Centre Bath and North East Somerset (South West)

Gill Cartwright – Wrexham Carers Service (Wales)

Isabel McQueen – Lanarkshire Carers Centre (Scotland)

Jamaal Hattan – Sutton Carers Centre (London)

Paul Nichols – Northamptonshire Carers (Midlands & East)

Roger Strange-Burlong – Care for the Carers (South East)

This year’s national winner, Robert, cares for his 29-year-old son who has suffered with severe and enduring mental health problems since he was a child.  Robert spends most days supporting his son with all aspects of his life as he is unable to manage without Robert’s help.

Robert volunteers with Blackpool Carers Centre. He is involved in raising awareness of carers issues among professionals in his local area, and is keen to tell his own story of being a carer in order to give carer’s a voice and increase referrals to Blackpool Carers Centre. Over the last 18 months, Robert has assisted at fundraising events as well as organising his own – such as cycling coast to coast and running a sports memorabilia auction – to raise thousands of pounds for the centre. He now runs the HUGS peer support group for other carers who care for someone with mental health problems.

Robert said:

“Following my introduction to the carers centre, shortly afterwards I tentatively went along to one of their monthly HUGS support group meetings. I found that meeting and talking to others with similar issues was a truly cathartic experience.

“I discovered that my mind was gradually being freed from the heavy emotional burden that I had evidently, but unwittingly, been carrying around with me for so long. Several months later, I have now taken on a more active voluntary role with the carers centre, to try to give a little something back to them, for all they have done for me.

“I have always been made to feel very valued and important by every person connected to them and have found them to be fantastic listeners who are often able to impart invaluable information and support.”

Carla Talbott of Blackpool CarersCentre, who nominated Robert for the Marsh Award, said:

“I would like Robert to be recognised and nominated for the national award as he is such a kind, giving and caring man and in my eyes, is an unsung hero of Blackpool Carers Centre.”

Robert was presented with a certificate and a prize of £600 by Charles Micklewright, a trustee of the Marsh Christian Trust, during a garden party at Blackpool Carers Centre during Carers Week.