Crossroads – the road from soap opera to supporting carers
In 1974, the nation was obsessed by ‘Crossroads’, a soap opera set in a motel in the Midlands. Unfairly lampooned for its wobbly sets and stilted acting, one storyline touched the hearts of many viewers. Sandy Richardson, the son of the owner of the motel, Meg Richardson, had been involved in a car accident and was now paralysed and confined to a wheelchair. Meg’s struggles as she cared for him at home was highlighted in the program and this prompted many carers to write in to praise the soap for dealing with the issues faced by carers on a daily basis.
The production team were so touched by the response that they donated £10,000 towards the research into carers needs. Early findings showed that carers needed support within their own homes. The research project was scrapped and the Crossroads Caring for Carers was set up in Rugby.
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers
In 1987, HRH The Princess Royal had noticed whilst carrying out her public duties that people with disabilities were receiving support from charities such as Mencap, but there was little or nothing in the way of services for carers other than respite. Carers, she was soon to discover, wanted recognition, a listening ear and to have access to support locally. This led to the creation of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in 1991 which set out to establish a network of carers’ centres that provided advice and support.
Merger of the two charities
In April 2012 The Princess Royal Trust for Carers merged with Crossroads Care nationally to form Carers Trust, of which we are a network partner.