THE Big Lottery Fund has awarded over £380,000 to a social enterprise based in Liverpool City Region to unite unpaid carers of people with dementia and give them a strong voice. The decision was made after discovering that the health and care services across the country save over £11bn a year by relying upon the tireless work of unpaid dementia carers, many of whom put their own wellbeing at risk every day. ‘Tide’ – ‘Together In Dementia Everyday’ – have chosen Carers Rights Day 2016 to announce their successful award of the grant. Tide, comprising of a group of former carers, intend to use this funding to draw carers together across Liverpool and Manchester City Regions to bring about better recognition for them, whilst improving the services for those they care for across the region. Jean Tottie, Chair and Director at tide, said: “This funding is crucial in helping us realise our dream of a single, united network of carers working to build better lives for both themselves and the people with dementia they care for. Tide is not just a support group; it is a network of carers led by carers, working to give a voice to the 670,000 carers in the UK, many of whom have left their jobs to look after people living with dementia. “Without these thousands of people selflessly dedicating their lives to looking after loved ones, the NHS and our care system would not be able to cope. But it is not easy: hundreds of thousands of family carers across the country jeopardise their own health and wellbeing every single day without the necessary services to back them up. “We want to help these carers realise that they are experts at what they do, and to encourage health professionals and commissioners to value their input when making decisions on policy that affect people living with dementia and those who care for them. We’re here to give carers a voice to influence those changes, both locally and nationally.” Over the next 18 months tide will be working to expand their network of carers, and offer them a development programme to increase their confidence and skills so that they can speak about their experience of caring. They seek to bring the voices of carers together into a movement capable of lobbying for policy changes in how carers of people with dementia across the country are treated, as well as securing quality services for people living with dementia. Joe Ferns, Big Lottery Fund UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director, said: “We’re pleased to be able to support the vital work tide is doing to put dementia carers in the lead and ensure their voice is heard. Their role is crucial in providing a nurturing and healthy environment for themselves and those they look after. “The work the project will carry out over the next 18 months is important to bring about a better future for carers across the Liverpool area and further afield, and to use this base to expand and influence change at a national level.” Tide is hosted by Life Story Network CIC and they are inviting dementia carers to join their network and work together to create a better future for family carers and people with dementia. To join in, head to www.tide.uk.net.