2018 has started out well for carer, Danielle Hewer who has been awarded Carer of the Year in the 2018 Wiltshire Life Awards.
Danielle, now 26 from Chippenham has been a carer from a young age. She cared for her brother who sadly died of cancer and now looks after her mum who suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and is in a wheelchair. When Danielle was 24 her father left the family home and Danielle had to give up work to be her mum’s main carer. The physical strain and mental stress of being a carer eventually led Danielle to crisis point, but she continued putting her mum first. Now with the help of Carer Support Wiltshire (CSW) Support Worker, Andrea James, Danielle is learning to put herself first sometimes too and is using her experiences to help others.
She wants to make a difference to other young people who find themselves looking after a loved one and don’t know where to turn for help and support. She has been involved in a project to develop an online support platform for young carers across the south west and is also volunteering in the CSW office helping the Support Team.
She responded to the news of with delight and disbelief:
“Honestly…I could not have done anything without all your help at Carer Support Wiltshire. You don’t get a handbook for any of the twist or turns in life, but at least you have all given me somewhere to turn when I can’t make sense of what needs to be done!! This means everything!”
Being a young adult carer can have a big impact on the things that are important to growing- up. It can affect a young person’s health, social life and self-confidence. According to research from Carers Trust, over 45% reported a mental health problem. Many struggle to manage their education, working life and caring role which can cause pressure and stress with 29% dropping out of college/university because of their caring role. This is four times higher than the national average.
There are thousands like Danielle who don’t get the support they need. Danielle is hoping this award will help to shine the spotlight on a hidden army of young people who need our help.
Pictured is Danielle winning her award.