Carers in Bedfordshire is a not-for-profit registered charity providing support for carers of family members and friends throughout Bedfordshire.
Our Mission Statement
Carers in Bedfordshire strive to identify and support all carers of family and friends. We will enhance their health and well-being by offering specialist support according to their needs and wishes.
We will ensure carers voices are heard and respected in the development and delivery of all services.
10 Key Facts
- We were set up in 2004 as "The Eve Project" by Yvonne Clark, a carer for her son.
- We are governed by a Board of Directors. 50% of the Directors are carers and the current chairperson, Emma Wilkinson, is a carer for her brother
- Listening to carers express their needs and delivering high quality carer services are of paramount importance to us
- 7500 carers are registered with us, from age 4 and upwards, including those whose relative or friend lives in a residential setting or has recently passed away. Approximately 100 new registrations are handled each month
- All of our services are totally free to carers, or attract only a small fee
- Our funds come from a range of sources: contracts for commissioned services, grants, awards from charitable trusts, donations, legacies, and our own fundraising
- We work closely with agencies who provide local services and with professionals who can promote support to carers such as GPs
- We employ 40 people (80% of whom are carers or former carers) and have around 100 volunteers (30% of whom are carers or former carers).
- We have offices in Bedford, Biggleswade and Leighton Buzzard as well as Carers Lounges in Bedford Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital
- We are a company limited by guarantee. Carers and others can become guarantor members, with liability limited to £10 and with full voting rights.
- Our Carers Lounge at Bedford Hospital won the Patient Experience National Award for Support for Caregivers, Friends and Family in March 2016
- Anne Grant, our Chairperson, nominated by us, won the 2015 Pride in Bedfordshire Unsung Hero award and the Winner of Winners category
- Lionel Albon, a volunteer at the Carers Rest, nominated by us, won the 2015 Pride in Bedfordshire Volunteer of the Year award
- Bill Simpkins, a volunteer at the Bedford office won the 2016 Carers Trust Marsh Trust for his outstanding contribution to volunteering and supporting carers.
- The Biggleswade Carers Cafe won the Aragon Housing Award 2016 for Best Community Project.
In the beginning...
Carers in Bedfordshire's beginnings were as The Eve Project back in 2004, set up by former carer Yvonne Clark. Yvonne realised the lack of support for unpaid carers of family members and loved ones. The Eve Project was run with no funding and simply from Yvonne's conservatory.
In April 2005, The Eve Project secured funding from the Harpur Trust and after another year, the name was changed to Carers in Bedfordshire. In doing so, the support for unpaid carers became countywide. Carers in Bedfordshire continued to grow and support more carers across the county and in April 2009 received funding to open a new carers centre in Biggleswade. The first ever Carers Cafe also took place in this month.
In September 2009, the NHS funded Carers in Bedfordshire to run the Carers Grants scheme to provide unpaid carers with a grant to have a break from their caring role.
The ever growing need for carer specific support was becoming more evident and more important so in September 2011 Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and NHS Bedfordshire put carers services out to tender. The aim of this was to bring all carers services in the county together so carers have one number to call when they are in need of support or help. Carers in Bedfordshire won the contract to provide exclusive carers services across the county.
Today, Carers in Bedfordshire supports over 7,500 unpaid carers. This is a huge growth from Yvonne's inspirational idea in 2004, but there is still so much more we aim to do for unpaid carers.
Yvonne Clark retired in November 2013 and a new Chief Executive Officer Helen Satterthwaite took over with the vision of continuing Carers in Bedfordshire's rapid growth, ensuring we reach all unpaid carers in Bedfordshire and looking to improve our services to repay carers for the amazing work they do for the UK economy and society. In December 2019, Chris Stelling became our third Chief Executive Officer.
Our Vision Statement
All carers are to be recognised and valued as expert partners in the planning and delivery of their services.