Best-selling author Kate Mosse speaks movingly about being a carer at OU event

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Best-selling author and founder/director of the women’s prizes for fiction and non-fiction, Kate Mosse CBE, has shared her experiences of being a carer at an event at The Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes.Mosse, was talking in her capacity as an ambassador for The Open University’s carers’ scholarship, which offers unpaid carers the opportunity to study with The Open University for free.

Addressing the audience of OU alumni and scholarship donors, Kate spoke about her personal experience of being a carer and why she was proud to be an ambassador for the scholarship.

“I have been a carer on and off for the past 15 years, first for my father, when he had Parkinson’s and now for my 93-year-old mother-in-law, the wonderful Granny Rosie.

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I am lucky because am a writer and I am my own boss, which meant that when I became a carer, I didn’t have to give up my job. However, this isn’t the case for most people, who vanish into themselves and give up their work in order to become a carer.

Author Kate MosseAuthor Kate Mosse
Author Kate Mosse

We carers are everywhere, hidden in plain sight and if all the unpaid carers were paid, it would be twice the budget of the NHS. Without us this country would fall to pieces.”

On the importance of education opportunities for carers she said:

“We know that education changes lives and we know that everyone wants the opportunity to contribute and to be themselves within the confines of their caring responsibilities.

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The problem with education when you are a carer is that it will always be disrupted because the person you are caring for must come first.

Many young carers will hit 16 without any qualifications and although we can all say that it doesn’t matter, we know that for our own self-esteem and sense of achievement it means everything to hold a qualification in your hand. For carers, it can change their lives and prospects.”

On the importance of the carers’ scholarship, she said:

“Being a carer is a privilege, but it is tough. With the scholarship fund we can make a difference to people who have so much to give but have not had the opportunity to do it in quite the way they had hoped.

Everyone has something to offer, and we need to speak more loudly on behalf of carers. It is the lowest of the statutory benefits and people absolutely rely on it. Sadly for many, when the person they are caring for dies, they are left destitute.

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The chance to turn their lives around through funded schemes like the OU’s carers’ scholarship are vital to give these people the opportunities the deserve.”

To find out how to apply for the carers scholarship visit Carers' Scholarships Fund | How to Pay | Open University

For information on how to become a donor visit giving.open.ac.uk/openfutures

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