Carers’ Resource’s new Director Chris Whiley is calling for a greater recognition of carers in the workplace – and society as a whole.
She succeeds charity founder Anne Smyth who retires at the end of November, 2015.
Formerly the Chief Executive of Visyon, a Cheshire charity which supports children and young people, and a former Assistant Director of Children’s Services in Bradford, Mrs Whiley said she was ‘privileged and delighted’ to be at the helm.
“From seeing the advert for the role, and throughout the recruitment and selection process I felt very much at home. It was energising,” she said.
“I’m acutely aware of the responsibility I have following in Anne’s footsteps as she has put her heart and soul into Carers’ Resource, and fortunately, as I’ve got to know her over the summer I realise we’re not a million miles apart – we’re quite similar in our approach.”
Mrs Whiley added she would continue to push for greater recognition of carers, to fight their rights and to help ensure they have a ‘quality of life’, as also reported in the Bradford Telegraph & Argus.
“People of any background can be a carer and each and every one of them has needs, it’s not about wealth or upbringing, it’s about needing support and the right support for that individual,” she said.
“Everyone needs to be recognising the important role and the contribution carers make – employers need to make across-the-board action to support employees to be both good carers and effective members of the workforce.”
Mrs Whiley has been working closely with Mrs Smyth over the past few weeks before Anne starts her retirement on December 1.
She is also visiting some carers’ groups and meeting carers, and said she was happy for carers to introduce themselves when she’s seen out and about or in the charity’s offices.
Mrs Whiley said as a teenager she was a young carer for brother, Richard, who died of leukaemia when he was six years old.
“We lived in the country, it was very remote. My mum was always at the hospital with him, which was 40 miles away. As I was the oldest I was running the home, and looking after siblings and going to school, as my dad was working,” she said.
“There was no support available for any of us and it really was a traumatic time for us all. It had a big impact on the whole family, then and afterwards.”