A CHARITY'S project which has helped some 400 carers reshape their lives is to continue despite lottery funding ending.

Carers’ Resource, which supports unpaid carers, has helped people to find work, access education or training, set up a business or boost their skills as part of its CReate scheme.

Lottery cash funded the project for three years and it will continue in a slimmed-down form, with the hope of finding a new cash injection to run a fuller programme in future.

Candy Squire-Watt took over managing CReate last month after joining Carers' Resource last year.

She said one of the first tasks was helping people escape the mental confines of devoting all their lives to those in their responsibility.

"Caring is a tough job – and it is often a role that is not planned as it can be the result of an accident, sudden illness or frailty," said Mrs Squire-Watt.

"In many cases carers struggle juggling paid work with caring responsibilities at home, and we know that about 50 per cent of carers have had to give up work to look after a loved one.

"Carers are some of the hardest groups to engage with because they feel that their time doesn't belong to them.

"Many have spent years in a form of isolation looking after those they love and we offer support and allow them to simply be themselves in their own right - to have dreams and goals and pursue them.

"There can be an element of guilt for people associated with doing something for themselves for once. Working with us somehow gives them the permission to do that."

Mrs Squire-Watt said people often lacked the necessary skills to re-enter the workplace .

"People can lose self-confidence very quickly and lose the knowledge of how to look for work.

"The last time they did so may have been just to go to Job Centre.

"We often start by encouraging people through workshops and develop their social skills.

"Then our organisation can offer skilled CV writers and IT support to help them look for work or set up their own businesses."

She said that the national number of carers is put at some six million and is predicted to increase to a peak of nine million in coming years.

"And as social care budgets are squeezed further the work we do will become increasingly important," she said.

Funded by the Big Lottery for the fixed term of three years, the four main results of the CReate project, which have been met or exceeded, were:

* 300 carers have improved knowledge about how to access information about work and learning opportunities.

* 180 carers have raised aspirations, improved confidence and that they have acted upon the information, advice and support given.

* 180 carers have participated in at least three activities, have improved skill levels, feel less isolated and have formed peer relationships

* Five organisations are identifying and supporting carers in their organisation.

*A further 106 businesses or organisations also attended special workshops about supporting carers in the workforce.

Carers who have benefited from the project have been invited to a celebration lunch at the charity’s base in Park View Court, St Paul’s Road, Shipley, on Thursday, March 24, from 11.30am to 1.30pm.

Mrs Squire-Watt said: "We didn’t want it to end without saying a big thank you and well done to those carers who have been part of our special journey, and we hope to see many of them at our celebration lunch."

For details about the CReate scheme contact Mrs Squire-Watt on 01274 449660, email: cswatt@carersresource.org or visit carersresource.org