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New Mayor elevates plight of Derbyshires young carers

Published on Tuesday 11 June 2024

The newly invested Mayor of Amber Valley, Councillor Paul Lobley, has named Derbyshire Carers Association as his chosen charity for the next 12 months.


Marilyn Hambly, chair of trustees at DCA, the Mayor of Amber Valley, Cllr Paul Lobley, and Helen Weston, CEO of DCA.

It is tradition at Amber Valley Borough Council and the majority of councils across the UK that every new mayor selects a worthy cause to support and raise funds for during their tenure.
 
Cllr Lobley, who replaced outgoing mayor Cllr Tony Holmes last week, said his decision to choose Derbyshire Carers Association (DCA) was “a no-brainer”, particularly in the work it does to support children who care for disabled, vulnerable or sick loved ones.
 
As a member of DCA’s board of trustees for the past 14 years, Cllr Lobley also has first-hand experience of the “irreplaceable” service provided by the charity. 
 
He and his wife, Mayoress Janette Lobley, themselves sought support from DCA while caring for their late daughter Heather, who was born with Down Syndrome and died in 2009, aged 21. The couple’s 34-year-old son Chris, who has Asperger Syndrome, has also benefited from the support provided by DCA.
 
DCA was launched in 1988 as a support network for the thousands of adult carers in the county. 
 
In 2017, it began supporting young carers by working with schools to help identify the often ‘invisible’ young carers, offering support networks, days out and other activities. The main focus is to give these unsung heroes, some as young as five years old, a break from caring and a chance to make childhood memories.
 
Cllr Lobley said: “It’s an irreplaceable service. DCA provides a genuine lifeline to these young people, giving them the opportunity to enjoy life outside of their caring role. 
 
“Selecting Derbyshire Carers Association as the chosen charity for my year as Mayor of Amber Valley was a no-brainer. 
 
“I plan to use this opportunity to help raise wider awareness of the charity’s work and of the invisible army of normal people across the county who making huge sacrifices to help their loved ones.”
 
The Mayor said that the unpaid work done by these carers was a major benefit to the community in general, not least because it saved millions of pounds in the national economy.
 
The DCA receives a variety of grant funding in order to carry out its base support service across the county. But additional funds are required to provide what Cllr Lobley calls “the whistles and bells” – the days out, the short breaks, group activities and general respite, particularly for the younger carers.
 
A number of awareness and fundraising events will be held during the Mayor’s year in office.
 
He announced his chosen charity this week at the DCA head office in Ripley, where he had also been invited to cut the ribbon on a newly installed lift for people with access difficulties, replacing one that had broken down in 2019.  
 
“I have no particular funding target, but every penny we receive will be hugely valued, and will help pay for those whistles and bells,” he said.
 
Helen Weston, chief executive officer of DCA, said: “We are delighted and extremely grateful that the Mayor has chosen the young carers’ service as his charity of the year. It will go a long way towards helping young carers in Amber Valley.”
 
Marilyn Hambly, chair of the DCA’s board of trustees since 2020, said: “It is brilliant. We’re so grateful. The Mayor could have chosen any charity, but he chose DCA.
 
“Young carers need all the help they can get. They are more likely to be absent from school, so they deserve support from the community to help them achieve their hopes and aspirations.”
 
The DCA is currently supporting over 450 young people across the county between the ages of five and 18 – a figure that is worryingly growing year on year. It is estimated that one-in-eight people in the UK are carers in some capacity.
 
For further information about DCA, visit www.derbyshirecarers.co.uk. If you would like to support the Mayor’s chosen charity, please contact mayor@ambervalley.gov.uk
 




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