Val Hewison, CEO

“I have always looked forward to writing my end of year message to you. It gives me time to say thanks to the team, to blow our own trumpet a bit about our achievements, to tell a funny anecdote or two and to wish everyone a happy new year.

Then this year we got a year to remember with COVID-19. A year that has impacted us all. And being honest I struggle to find the funny anecdotes and any trumpets are not ours to blow but yours. The trumpet blown for every carer who this year has worked so hard in the most trying of circumstances to  keep  the people they care for safe, whilst reducing the risk to themselves so they could continue to care.

You deserve our acknowledgement and sincere thanks……we know it has been a stressful and challenging time for carers and many of you have provided extraordinary hours and levels of care with limited support.  As someone said to me last week…. I know I am a resilient person but even my resilience is tired now.

As a team at Carers Leeds (and they are a phenomenal bunch of folk and I thank them for getting through the year) we have done everything possible to keep the service going as ‘Business As Unusual’ ….……working from bedrooms, back rooms, garden sheds .…we have kept our services going knowing that a voice at the end of a phone can be so reassuring and hopefully helpful too. We may have had to work in a different way, but our overarching aim has been to keep the phone lines open and keep in touch with as many people as possible.

We have all made huge progress in the digital world too. Many of you have embraced the world of technology although I can say in the early days, I hardly embraced it. I had a very rocky relationship with it!   I have a tee shirt with the words ‘You’re on Mute’ on! I wear it regularly!

So whilst these necessary new ways of working have been challenging there has also been lots of great inspiring work going on too and we promise we will always work tirelessly so we can continue to support people like you….carers across the city  who are doing such a great job.

We are navigating some unchartered waters….…. let us do it together. My very best wishes to you all for a safe and healthy 2021 where we will meet again.”