Blake Leonard, ten, is from Long Melford in Suffolk. When he was just five he started caring for his mum after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
He is passionate about raising the profile of young carers like him and the support they give to family members struggling with a long-term illness, disability or poor mental health. To do this he regularly gives talks at events to share his own experience of what it’s like being a young carer.
In March this year, Blake travelled to Westminster with other young carers from Suffolk Family Carers to make a speech to Parliamentarians about the challenges young carers face. After hearing him speak, Parliamentarians have said how Blake’s talk has helped them understand more about young carers, and what politicians can do to provide more support. After meeting other young carers at Westminster, Blake organized 'Chocs for Champs', a project to help others less fortunate than himself, by collecting 500 Easter Eggs for Suffolk Family Carers to give out to children in need.
His courage and commitment to speaking up for young carers has now been recognised with him becoming the latest recipient of the Point of Lights Award. The award recognizes remarkable young volunteers whose voluntary work is making a real difference in their communities, as well as inspiring others to do the same.
Blake received the award this afternoon from his local MP, James Cartlidge. Presenting the award, Mr Cartlidge said: “I am very honoured to present Blake with this award. He is an inspirational young man and I hope that he feels very proud of what he has achieved.”
In a personal letter to Blake, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “You should feel very proud of your recent speech at Westminster which has helped Members of Parliament understand more about the amazing care you give your mum. By speaking about your daily life, you are giving a voice to young carers across our country. Well done.”
And responding to the award, Blake said: “I am still lost for words about winning the award but I hope it will help Chocs for Champs get even bigger.”