Crossroads Care Gloucestershire has been providing vital respite breaks to unpaid carers across the county for more than 30 years.
The charity has been highlighting its work as part of UK Carers Week, which runs until Sunday, to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers and also to highlight where carers can turn to access much needed help and support.
Crossroads CEO Helen Baker said: “My whole career has been in the social care sector in one form or another.
“I’ve worked hands on with people with learning disabilities, in care homes, nursing homes, and hospitals as well as being heavily involved in the training side of the profession.
“I’ve been with Crossroads Care Gloucestershire for 11 years now and I’m so proud of the care we provide.
“No one knows when they might need care and support – there’s no hard and fast rule – but our services help ensure people can remain independent at home with the support they need.
“Unpaid carers really are the unsung heroes of the world, and without them the care system in this country would collapse.”
Rob Cook, 51, from King’s Stanley near Stroud, joined the Crossroads last August after 30 years with Gloucestershire Fire Service.
Speaking about his change of career, he said: “It’s not as big a move as people tend to think.
“There was so much community-based work – talking to old people’s groups, young people in schools, visiting elderly people at home to put up smoke alarms – at the fire service.
“It wasn’t putting out fires and rescuing people all the time. We were always dealing with different agencies and organisations, so social care work seemed like a natural fit and I kind of knew what to expect.
“I deal predominantly with older people and like listening to the stories of their lives.
“A lot of people look at an old person and see literally just that – an old person.
“You forget they’ve had previous lives.
“If I had someone caring for my loved ones, I would want to know they were genuinely interested in listening to them.”
Carers seeking support can visit crossroadscareglos.org.uk