A YOUNG woman who started caring for her mother at the age of six is up for a Yorkshire Women of Achievement Award this evening.
Sami Richardson, 22, from Huntington, is in the running for the Young Achiever of the Year category at the Leeds ceremony, which recognises inspirational young women in the region.
Last year Sami moved an audience of 800 people at a national awards ceremony when she spoke bravely about what life was like as a young carer.
Matt Beer, communications manager with Carers Trust, nominated her for making an exceptional contribution to raising awareness about young adult carers.
He said: “Sami is an amazing young woman. As well as her day to day caring, and all the great work she does with York Carers, she was incredibly brave in speaking to 800 people, including the Princess Royal, at The Co-operative Charity of the Year Ball in Manchester in December. She made a wonderful speech and really brought home to people what life is like for unpaid young adult carers.
“Through explaining what they do, carers like Sami helped The Co-operative staff understand why young adult carers need their support. As a result they went on to raise a fantastic £6m in 2013, money which will be spent by Carers Trust on projects supporting carers like Sami across the country.”
As a child, Sami became a carer for her mum who was suffering from conditions including spinal problems, asthma, sleep apnoea and depression.
With the support of York Carers Centre, she has gone on to university and to start a campaign group for some of the issues young carers face.
Speaking at the Co-operative event, Sami said: “I try so hard, but I feel like I’m constantly juggling and sometimes feel I’m not doing enough. So I focus on the positives. I focus on every smile I get from my mum, every meal I cook knowing I developed those skills and I relish in knowing that I actually like the person I am.”
The Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement Award ceremony takes place at the Royal Armouries in Leeds this evening.
York Carers Centre has a dedicated Young Adult Carer service for carers aged 18 to 25. Young adult carers are offered events, residential weekends away, one to one support and the change to take part in accredited projects.
For more information visit www.yorkcarerscentre.co.uk