Richard spent most of his working life as an auditor, but became a full-time carer overnight in April 1991.
For the first 12 years, he describes himself as a ‘ hidden carer ‘. He received no support or recognition whatsoever in what were the loneliest, desperate and most desolate years of his life.
He cares for his wife Sheila. In 2003 he began volunteering with Cambridge County Council, and was the Carer Representative for the county until 2007.
Later that year a Carers Partnership Board was formed, and uniquely run by carers. Richard was asked to chair this, but before accepting the role, requested that more carers were included on the board, as he felt it necessary to have more carer knowledge in terms of both experience and geographical location.
He did this for three years, and was co-chair for a further three. Today he remains as an active member to help and support other carers. Richard is also a Carer’s Ambassador locally for The Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, and for Carers UK covering the Eastern Counties.
Currently Richard is acting as a carer advisor to Essex County Council. He is working with them to implement and ensure their Carers Strategy fulfils the needs of the Care Bill. Also he participates in workshops designed to develop better support for unpaid carers throughout the county.
He believes the way forward is for all concerned to work together in equal partnership without prejudice – collaboration and person centred care being paramount to its success.
It is vital the changes made allow unpaid carers and those they care for, more choice in the way health and support services are delivered to them.
The outcome from this will mean those services and the people providing them, can operate more efficiently and cost effectively.