HALTON Council's Shared Lives team is through to the national final of the Great British Care Awards.

The awards recognise excellence in social care and the group of Halton carers (pictured) won the Dementia Carer Award for the North West.

There were nine finalists in the category, with Halton being the only local authority finalist. The team now go forward to the national final in March.

Eileen Clarke, who manages the Shared Lives Service, was delighted with the carers’ success: "In our opinion the carers in Halton are true unsung heroes when it comes to supporting people with dementia.

"They offer their homes up for day-care for a minimal wage and provide the most valuable real life home environment where the person being cared for shares in their everyday family life."

The carers look after people in their own homes, which are inspected to ensure they are Care Quality Commission compliant as they recognise how important it is to keep vulnerable people safe and can offer well-earned respite to the families of the people they support.

Service manager Eileen Clarke continued: "Being a Shared Lives carer can bring with it challenges due to the nature of peoples dementia which our carers overcome with humanity and kindness."

Cllr Tom McInerney, the Council's executive board member for social care, says: “This is great news and richly deserved. The carers are so passionate about the care they give. They recognise that the person they are supporting are people with a past and future who had valued social roles, and for that reason alone they command the upmost respect. I am delighted for them and wish them all the best for the national final.”

To become a carer in the Shared Lives programme and get paid for the time you spend looking after someone, ring 0151 511 6677 Monday- Friday, 8am – 6pm.