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Creative competition shines a light on the lives of unpaid carers

07 November 2018

Today Carers UK, the charity for unpaid carers, is announcing the winners of its annual competition to showcase the best creative writing and photography on the theme of caring for others.

With the competition now in its fifth year, the national charity invited entries from both the general public and the country’s 6.5 million unpaid carers, depicting what it’s like to support a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill.  Through the competition, Carers UK hopes to raise awareness of the realities of looking after someone, as well as provide an escape and creative outlet for those currently caring.

Winning entries have included imaginative stories and inspired poems showing the many facets of caring and being cared for, while photographs of moving moments in their lives have been captured on camera.  Entries were received from far and wide, from experienced writers and amateurs, as well as those who’ve recently picked up writing and photography as a hobby.

Pippa Little (60), a carer from Newcastle, scooped first prize in the poetry competition with her poem entitled, ‘Inside with English Breakfast,’ inspired by a trip to the seaside with her husband, for whom she is a full-time carer, after he was diagnosed with serious health issues.

Pippa commented; “I was inspired to write this poem after a visit to the beach near us with my husband. It was a beautiful day, you could see the whole bay and the lighthouse and I could make out the contrast between those people not being well, sitting in the café, and those playing happily on the beach. It moved me to write a poem about it.

“Writing is really therapeutic and I would definitely recommend it to carers as a way to switch off - it’s time for yourself for a short while in between caring.

“I’m delighted to have won this competition. Carers UK is such a good organisation and is a vital source of support for me. It’s comforting to know that they are there.”

The first prize for best short story within the creative writing competition was won by Jodie Carpenter (27) from Birmingham, who focused her tale on an imaginary dementia patient after being moved by the experience of her grandfather who has Parkinson’s and dementia.

Meanwhile, there are two photography winners. Hayley Gwilliams (31), from Cornwall, won the category, This is Caring, for her image depicting the reality of life as a carer, and George Atkinson (26), from Romford won in the category, Life Outside Caring, which invites those caring for a loved one to express their creativity in photographs.

The competition has once again been supported by Specsavers, which provides free NHS-funded eye tests for those in care through its home visits service.

Award-winning poet, Cheryl Moskowitz, reprised her role as a judge of the creative writing competition for the fifth year running and leading photographer Bella West judged the photography competition for the second year.

Michael Shann, Head of Membership and Volunteering at Carers UK said; “We have been delighted by the quality of the entries and the heart-warming accounts of caring which have emerged from these wonderful poems, stories and photos.

“At some point in our lives, many of us will care for a loved one or need that care ourselves, yet it remains a hidden issue. And it can be difficult for carers to recognise that they’re not alone.


“These eloquent and poignant entries tell us about the joys that can be experienced, the learning that comes with caring, and the way it changes us. They also show the resilience and courage that can be required. I hope that these poems, stories and photos will shine a light on the enormous contribution carers make and ensure more people are aware of the support that Carers UK provides.”

David Stockton, director of domiciliary operations at Specsavers said; “We are very proud to continue to support this inspiring competition, which has yielded many high quality entries.

“Every day Specsavers staff make home visits up and down the country to provide eye tests for people who are not able to visit a store, and we regularly hear moving stories from selfless individuals who care for a loved one.

“We’re delighted that these courageous stories are being told and we hope that this will help to raise awareness of the importance of caring. Many congratulations to the winners.”

The winning poems and short stories will be published in an anthology, available in late November from the Carers UK shop:


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