Aldershot Football Club, the Diocese of Guildford, NHS North East Hampshire & Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, and Hart Voluntary Action have joined together to form an innovative partnership to support carers in Hampshire.
Through the partnership a ‘Carers Day’ will be held on 9 February when The Shots host Eastleigh FC. As part of the day carers from across North East Hampshire and Farnham will be invited to enjoy the match as guests of the club.
A group of twelve young carers will act as match day mascots and will have a unique insight into what happens the behind the scenes of a local football club - meeting the manager and players, visiting the changing rooms and board room, and then welcoming the teams on to the pitch.
John Casey, Chair of the Shots Foundation, said: “It’s great to be working in partnership with so many organisations to support young carers and it will be fantastic to welcome the Hampshire and Surrey Young Carers Group to the EBB next month.
"They are the great unsung heroes of our society – they don’t get paid in money – they get paid in love and appreciation for those for which they care. We are delighted to play our part in saying well done and saluting them for all they do!
“Aldershot Town is proud that it is able to do its small bit to say thank you to these amazing young people for the caring they do. We hope that they have some fun and cheer the Shots on to victory as mascots!”
A young carer is a young person, most likely still at school, who makes great sacrifices to take on a major caring role with a loved one – often a parent but sometimes a grandparent or some other family member. A survey by the BBC in 2010 estimated that about one in 12 secondary-aged pupils have caring responsibilities – equating to some 250,000 young people.
Clive Richardson, Carer Support Adviser with the diocese, said: “It is really encouraging to see so many people and organisations coming together to support and recognise carers, and to show that what they do is highly valued. It will be a great day and an occasion to recognise and reward carers – over to The Shots to top it off with a win!”
Peter Bibawy, Clinical Chair at NHS North East Hampshire & Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “We are extremely delighted to be working in partnership with Aldershot FC. This is a unique opportunity that will give carers a truly memorable experience, and provide a platform to gain recognition and support for all carers across the locality. We look forward to the upcoming match day and to continuing to work with Aldershot FC into the future.”