A group of carers, many who only get time to themselves a few times a year, were treated to a canal barge trip to Caen Hill in Devizes courtesy of the insurance firm Zurich.

23 unpaid carers were able to enjoy the 3 hour trip, which took in 12 locks and included a quiz and the opportunity to take in the view at the café of the famous flight of locks at Caen Hill.

Each year Zurich encourages its employees to fundraise and host events for local charities and community groups through their charity arm, Zurich Community Trust’s Spring Challenge programme. Challenge, is the Trust’s flagship volunteering programme, with UK employees completing over 4,600 projects since it began 30 years ago!

The trip was arranged for Carer Support Wiltshire with the funds secured by Zurich enabling the carers to enjoy a cream tea lunch, refreshments and even two birthday cakes on the barge. Staff from both organisations attended the event, helping to make it a relaxed social occasion where the carers felt really special and appreciated for the day.

Attendee Julie Black said: “Our role is a full time job with very little appreciation on a day-to-day basis so this is a fantastic way to express ourselves and smile and laugh with other people that really understand the position we are in. This wouldn’t have been possible without Zurich and the hard work and all the fundraising to make the event possible. The wonderful birthday cakes actually brought a tear to the eye for many of us.”

Another of the carers who attended, Sid Cass, said: “I want to express my appreciation for the very enjoyable and relaxing trip. Given the circumstance of my wife’s terminal illness, it was my first day out for almost 18 months and I am very grateful to you all.”

Sheena Herrington, Business Improvement Tax Analyst at Zurich, said: “To see that carers who get very few days to themselves chose to spend it with us and really enjoyed the trip is very gratifying. The Zurich Challenge team enjoyed the day very much and are so happy that everyone had a good time and feel better for it.”

Nearly all of the carers said the event made them feel less isolated, supported and appreciated. They also said it had improved their social relationships and they felt more able to care for their loved one afterwards.