Local carers have been treated to a special afternoon tea to celebrate their artistic flair and their caring efforts and to raise awareness about their contribution to society.
The carers were selected for special recognition for their entries in Celebrating Carers through Art, a competition run by the NHS and voluntary sector and supported through sponsorship and donations from local businesses.
They and those they care for enjoyed a choice of teas with sandwiches, scones and pastries, in the elegant surroundings of The Elvetham, near Hartley Wintney. They met fellow carers and cared-for people, as well as local NHS and voluntary sector staff who support carers.
Celebrating Carers through Art invited unpaid carers in North East Hampshire and Farnham to submit artwork which reflected either their life as a carer, or their life outside caring. The competition invited people of all ages to take part, in a variety of artistic disciplines.
Entries included poems, drawings, and handicrafts.
One carer said of the event: “It has been a wonderful treat in perfect surroundings. A lot of people don’t realise the amount that a carer does, so for people to actually recognise that and have a competition and awards, it brings it to life and to the attention of the general public and I think it’s the most wonderful idea.”
Kerry Hearsey, CEO of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Hampshire, said: “Carers give so much of their time and energy in looking after other people that they often put their own lives on hold.
“We wanted to use this competition to boost awareness of local carers by getting them to express themselves and explore their creative sides and give them a sense of accomplishment outside their caring duties.
“Taking them out to a lovely afternoon tea in such stunning surroundings and enabling them to meet other people in similar situations to themselves is our small way of thanking them for what they do and helping them to celebrate their creativity and their achievements.”
Dr Peter Bibawy is Clinical Chair of NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group, which works with the voluntary sector to support carers.
He said: “The work that unpaid carers do nationwide is huge and has been valued at more than the overall budget of the NHS, so we really need to look after the carers within our local population.
“Holding this competition will hopefully have made a difference to the lives of those who have taken part, by helping them to reconnect with their creative sides and to make them think about themselves a bit more. We hope the entries will help us to continue to raise awareness.”
The organisers of Celebrating Carers through Art would like to thank the many local organisations that have provided sponsorship, donations or other support for the programme.