Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Carers Celebrated at Celtic Connections Concert

Carers Celebrated at Celtic Connections concert

Songstress Eddi Reader and indie folk five-piece Admiral Fallow were among the artists who took to the stage last night for a unique concert to celebrate the work of the 660,000 carers in Scotland and those who support them.   

Joining them on the bill for the ‘Letters, Life and Love Stories’ Concert organised by the the ALLIANCE, Regular Music and Celtic Connections were Emma Pollock accompanied by the Cairn String Quartet, Horse McDonald, Hue & Cry, Kassidy, Tommy Reilly, Joe Nisbet Jr, Siobhan Wilson and Little Fire. 

The special concert, paying tribute to those who play a caring role was brought to an end in a fitting manner when all of the acts returned to the stage for a group performance of ‘Lean On Me.”

Ahead of the concert, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed 500 specially invited guests including carers and inspirational professionals and volunteers who play a supporting role in their journeys. A host of partner organisations from across Scotland who represent and support carers took part in the reception and exhibition to share what caring meant to them.

The project was spearheaded by Tommy Whitelaw, who worked for 20 years in the music industry and later spent five years caring for his mum Joan. He started a campaign to raise awareness, gathering letters from carers. Now as Project Engagement Lead with the ALLIANCE’s Dementia Carer Voices Project, he speaks to carer groups, health and social care professionals and students as well as key decision-makers who have influence over the lives of people affected by dementia.

Tommy Whitelaw, Project Engagement Lead, ALLIANCE said: 

“Over the last few years I have seen the amazing lengths that carers go to through love and met the most inspirational people who make a difference during the carer journey. This event is the perfect opportunity to say thanks to these inspirational people for the role that they play.” 
Irene Oldfather, Programme Director, ALLIANCE said:
“Tommy’s work reaches out to people and touches their hearts. For those who have been through the experience, it resonates and they realise that they are not alone. And for those who haven’t, it touches a chord and opens their eyes to the emotional rollercoaster of caring for someone with dementia, which unless you have experienced it, almost defies description.

“The letters which Tommy has collected are a window into hearts, minds and souls and deserve to be read and heard.”

Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP said:

"I'm delighted to support the work of Tommy and his colleagues at The ALLIANCE and their invaluable efforts to raise awareness and inform policy on dementia and carers issues.

"The Scottish Government continues to take national action on both of these key health and social care issues. This event is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the key roles unpaid carers play across Scotland." 

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