Around 7,500 voluntary carers in the county have a chance to win €1,500 and a hotel break, the Donegal launch of the Irish Red Cross Carer of the Year Award heard at an event in the Buncrana Medical Centre. This Award includes a Donegal Carer of the Year who will be selected in November.
Every year the Irish Red Cross recognises the work of voluntary carers across Ireland through the award, which is open to all unpaid carers including children.
Local man William McLaughlin from Ballymagan, Buncrana won regional the award in 2013, and Anne Strain from Drumadooey, Burnfoot won the Donegal Award in 2014.
There are well over 180,000 carers working unpaid across the country providing nearly 6.3 million hours every week, according to themost recent CSO statistics. The figures show 7,433 live in Co Donegal.
Family members, mainly spouses, account for over 89 per cent of Carers and over-65s represent 22 per cent of those providing full-time care.
The total number of unpaid care hours provided by children under 15 years amounted to 38,496 weekly with those under nine accounting for around 35 percent of the total.
“As a humanitarian organisation supporting vulnerable people at home and abroad, the Irish Red Cross believes the work of voluntary carers, who dedicate their lives to others, should be celebrated.
“Our Carer of the Year Award does just that. It helps create public awareness of the extraordinary work of carers and gives them the chance to win a great prize,” Sheena Callaghan, Health and Social Care Officer with the Donegal Area Red Cross said.
She also thanked the Dr Maira Bradley and the rest of the team at the Buncrana Medical Centre for joining with the Red Cross locally in promoting the awards.
Dr Aidan Roarty from the centre said: “People who take on the role of carer, often without any formal training, may feel overwhelmed and indeed vulnerable themselves. The award acknowledges the wonderful work that they do and gives them a chance to perhaps look after themselves a little bit.”
The award is open to all unpaid carers looking after someone who is elderly or has a physical or mental disability or illness. Nominees do not need to be Red Cross members and can enter themselves or be put forward by someone else.
Nominations for this year’s award are now open and close on August 31. The national award ceremony will take place in November at the Mansion House in Dublin at a date to be confirmed. The Donegal award will be presented locally.
Nomination forms are available through local Red Cross branches or by contacting Sheena Callaghan directly on 087 294 0455 and the Donegal Red Cross Centre week days 10 am to 1pm on 074 93 84776
They can also be accessed at redcross.ie/carer2015 where nominations can be made online or the form can be downloaded and sent by post to Irish Red Cross Carer of the Year, 16 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.