Bill Simpkins, 75, from Bromham has won the 2016 Carers Trust Marsh Christian award for his volunteering at Carers in Bedfordshire.
The award is given to carers or former carers for their outstanding contribution to volunteering and supporting other carers in their community.
Bill is one of a team of more than 100 valued volunteers working at Carers in Bedfordshire, a charity which supports unpaid family and friend carers. He is recognised through this award for his exceptional contribution to the work to support carers in Bedfordshire. Among many other contributions Bill runs a Monday coffee morning carer group at the charity’s Bedford offices, doing all the behind the scenes work. The group gives carers the opportunity to meet every week to support each other and those who attend truly appreciate the work Bill puts into it.
Bill cares for his wife and his role as a carer has taken a toll on his own health, as he continually has to be aware of his wife’s mental health and assess whether she is well enough for him to leave her, whilst at the same time encouraging her to be as independent as possible.
On winning the award Bill said, “This award has come as a complete surprise and made an extremely difficult week well worth the effort. Volunteering is my way of helping others care in return for all the help I receive from Carers in Bedfordshire.” Having benefitted himself from Carers in Bedfordshire’s support he put himself forward to help out and has been a stalwart volunteer ever since.
Carol Solaiman, Carers in Bedfordshire’s Volunteer Coordinator said, “Bill has direct experience of the isolation that carers can face and is totally committed to the idea of peer support. He is proof that the natural support carers extend to each other is a powerful tool.” Carol goes on to say, “Over the past year he has started to lend a listening ear to let isolated carers who can’t attend groups or events know that they are not alone. Bill’s greatest strength is his warm and friendly approach, making regulars and newcomers feel equally welcome and valued. Volunteering has such a positive impact on carers wellbeing, it gives opportunities to meet new people, develop new skills or brush up on existing ones and is a way to give back to the community and make a difference.”
Press Release Date: June 2016