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Forward Carers up for Best Community Campaign Award

Forward Carers has been shortlisted to win the Best Community Campaign Award at the Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) National Campaigner Awards 2021. The Community Campaign Award celebrates a successful campaign that has taken place at a local community level. It could be led by one or many but will have led to a change that benefits all of or a significant portion of the local community.

Forward Carers has been selected for this award because of the success of the Unsung Heroes campaign which raised awareness of and celebrated family and other unpaid Carers across Birmingham aged 50 years and over.  

One in four households in Birmingham is home to a person who cares for someone else, yet 50% of people say they don’t know any Carers. It is a ‘hidden’ role that takes place behind closed doors, and many can feel disconnected and unseen by their community, and lonely and isolated in their role.  

The aim of the Unsung Heroes campaign was to bring the caring role into sight so that Carers felt seen, valued, and connected to their community. Forward Carers supported Carers to tell their own stories, via a series of ‘Unsung Heroes’ videos and blogs that were shared across a social media campaign, giving voice to the rich and diverse realities of the caring role. This platform for people’s voices and experiences, helped ensure they were ‘seen’ and valued. It also forged connections between Carers, reducing isolation. 

Forward Carers also worked with local influencers and decision-makers, such as GPs and MPs, calling on them to stand up for Carers’ needs. And the UK’s first ever Carer Friendly Business Awards spotlighted good practice amongst employers, organisations and businesses, encouraging others to follow suit. 

Chantell Marler, Campaign Lead for Forward carers said,

“We are thrilled to have been shortlisted. It is thanks to the dedication, commitment, and passion shown by the family Carers who participated in and supported the campaign, that we were able to raise awareness of this previously undervalued and unrecognised community.  We thank everyone for being part of this amazing campaign and hope it will continue to inspire people to be aware of and connect with Carers.”

The Unsung Heroes campaign ended in June 2020 but was the catalyst for the Carer Friendly Communities programme, a national initiative to improve support for and recognition of Carers of all ages. Carer Friendly Communities empowers communities to make small changes that make a big difference to the lives of Carers. Any organisation can become Carer Friendly – find out more here.  

About the Awards
Each year, SMK celebrates the best campaigns and campaigners – whether working locally or nationally, and from individuals and community groups to people working in large organisations. SMK is interested in finding those who have made change happen – most effectively, creatively and courageously.

Winners will be announced at 4pm on 13 May 2021 at the virtual Awards ceremony here.