The GSK IMPACT Awards have been running for 20 years – the  awards are designed to recognise and reward charities that are doing excellent work to improve people’s health. They are funded by GlaxoSmithKline and managed in partnership with The King’s Fund.  We are very proud to be one of 10 local and national charities who have won this prestigious award which acknowledges the leadership role played by charities working in health and social care.    The other 9 winners are from organisations as diverse as those supporting people with sight problems;  people who have been adopted and the families that have adopted children and young people; organisations working in community development in highly disadvantaged areas; charities helping sex workers and young people at risk of child sexual exploitation.  Val and I  have just returned from spending three intense days training with staff from these organisations and we have learned so much – from highly skilled staff employed by the Kings Fund but mostly from each other.

Change, for Carers Leeds over the last 3  years,  has been massive and the implementation of this change has been a significant factor in the winning of this award.  Throughout the training and the very exciting award ceremony, we felt very conscious of our role as a charity supporting carers, many of whom have little voice or opportunity to influence the health and social care services on which they may be dependent.  In Val’s acceptance speech, she made it clear that this award has been on behalf of all the carers in Leeds that we are so privileged to work with.

But we also need to thank Leeds City Council Adults and Health Directorate, who have always supported our work, the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups who have given us opportunities to demonstrate the effectiveness of joint working between health and 3rd sector, our external funders, in particular Henry Smith Charity, Leeds Community Foundation, and of course business sponsors (British Gas, Markel Insurance, Direct Line) and all those who donate to Carers Leeds.  I’d better stop there as this is sounding like the acceptance speech I didn’t get to make and I’m starting to weep copiously.

Helena Bladon, Development Manager