Carers Trust is delighted that The National Gardens Scheme (NGS), one of our longest standing and most generous supporters, will continue to support us with a £350,000 grant in 2014.

So far over £2m has been raised to support carers in England and Wales and this invaluable support will help us to reach out to one million carers by 2018.

Every year between March and October, people volunteer to open their private garden to the public enabling NGS to raise money. This year there are more than 3,700 gardens being opened to the public, making carers count across England and Wales. 

This year NGS support will help us reach more carers, improve quality and help to raise the profile of hidden carers.

Previous funding has been used to develop a development fund to support six of our Network Partners. The primary purpose of the fund is to support a number of Network Partners to develop models of excellence and so form a hub around which carers services can develop, learn from and grow. 

In Northamptonshire this was used to fund a befriending support service for carers delivered by volunteers. This ties into the agenda of the Big Society aiming to empower people at a local level and encourage community involvement.

Fred*, 76, cares for his wife who has dementia and uses a befriending service to enable him to go to the bowling club every week. “Thanks to this service I am able to take a break from caring for my wife and spend time with my friends. It gives me peace of mind to know that Sally* is well looked after whilst I’m out. Before this service was available it was really difficult for me to take a break from caring and have some time to myself.”

The funding has previously supported work with dementia; including Crossroads Care Home Share projects in Cambridgeshire. The projects work by supporting care support workers to open their homes to three or four people with dementia providing a safe and supportive environment for them enabling their carers to take a respite break from their caring role with the peace of mind that their loved one is well looked after. 

Commenting on this year’s launch, Thea Stein, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, said: “NGS has been supporting Carers Trust for many years. This continued support has enabled us to make a real and significant difference to the lives of many unpaid carers. We are extremely grateful for the support they have given us.”