Barbara is joining celebrities including Graham Norton, David Jason, Esther Rantzen and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to lend her support to this year's Carers Week (June 13-19).
Carers Week is an annual event that raises awareness of carers - people who look after a sick or disabled friend, partner or relative - and issues that affect them. During this year's event thousands of events will be taking place up and down the country to give carers a break and highlight the support available to them.
"I know from first hand experience in my own family that it's not easy being a carer," says Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. "It can be physically, emotionally and financially draining which is why it's so vital that carers get the support they need to take a break from it and spend time doing their own thing - whether it's relaxing, working or pursuing hobbies."
There are an estimated six million carers in Britain today, many of whom don't recognise themselves as carers and aren't aware of the support and services available to them.
Before her recent election, Barbara worked on national policy issues for Carers for four years. In her first speech to the House of Commons recently Barbara said that Carers issues would remain important to her in her new role:
"Carers make an invaluable contribution to society - their work is equivalent to an incredible £57 billion every year," says Barbara Keeley. "It's vital that carers receive the support they need to continue caring while also leading lives of their own. There is help and support available for carers in Salford so I would urge anyone who looks after a friend, relative or partner to contact Salford Carers Centre as soon as possible."
Paul Matz, Carers Week Manager, says:
"We're delighted that Barbara Keeley is supporting Carers Week 2005. If it helps carers get access to the support they need, it will have been worthwhile."
2005 is the eleventh annual Carers Week. It is jointly organised by seven UK-wide charities; Carers UK, Crossroads Caring for Carers, Help the Aged, Macmillan Cancer Relief, MS Society, Rethink and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.