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Honoured to be standing up for carers

29 December 2011

Madeleine Starr, Carers UK’s Head of Innovation, has been awarded an MBE for services to employment in the 2012 New Year’s Honours list.

Since 1999, Madeleine has led Carers UK work on carers and employment and was instrumental in securing major changes to law, policy and workplace practice for the 3 million people who juggle work with caring for ill, frail or disabled friends or family members.

Madeleine was instrumental to Carers UK’s work on the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act (2004), making employment a central part of local authority carer’s assessments; and the Work and Families Act (2006) which extended the right to ask for flexible working to carers.

Madeleine founded business forum Employers for Carers with Caroline Waters OBE, Director of People and Policy at BT plc, and a small group of forward-thinking employers. The network has now grown to over 50, including Sainsbury’s, British Gas, PricewaterhouseCoopers, London
Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police and is at the cutting edge of employment policy.

Caroline Waters OBE, Director of People and Policy at BT and Chair of Employers for Carers, said: "Madeleine's work at Carers UK has been central not just in raising employers' awareness of carers' needs as they strive to combine work and care, but also in making the hard business case for carer-friendly workplaces. Her passion and vision have driven the success of Employers for Carers and have been absolutely critical in establishing caring as a major issue on the agenda of employers, business and policy makers."

Don Brereton CB, Chair of Carers UK said: “When Madeleine started in this field carers’ needs and rights were nowhere to be seen on the employment landscape. She has transformed this, building a strong research and policy base, international partnerships and successfully winning European funding to get this work off the ground.”

Following a career in education and publishing, Madeleine joined Carers UK in 1999 to lead the first ever work on carers and employment on a project funded by the European Social Fund. Madeleine describes the work as her passion.

Madeleine Starr MBE, said: “With an ageing population and more of us having to work and care longer, caring is a challenge not just for families but all of society, business and the economy.

Most of us will care at some point and we should be able to normalise caring into everyday life, particularly employment. Carers often desperately want to stay in work and employers can’t afford to lose talented and knowledgeable staff. Yet one in five people gives up work to care, often leading to a terrible impact on their income, social networks, pensions and wellbeing.

Honours are never given to individuals, but always to the people and networks they work with who make change possible. I am incredibly proud of what families, businesses and Carers UK have achieved together in transforming attitudes, policy and practice around caring and
employment.”

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