A CRADLEY Heath woman is in the running to be named Britain’s Family Carer of the Year.

Sam Rudge, aged 44, who is a full-time carer for her disabled 12-year-old daughter Olivia, has been nominated in the national awards run by disability charity Sense.

Olivia has complex disabilities, including being non-verbal and struggling to sleep at night, meaning Sam regularly can only get a few hours rest at night.

Covid has significantly increased Sam’s caring duties. During lockdown, Olivia’s mood has been challenging which means she cannot be left alone.

But Sam has continued to be creative, thinking of different activities every day to keep Olivia stimulated and entertained.

Sense offers buddying sessions for Olivia, matching her with a volunteer, who can do fun activities with her online, while Sam receives vital respite.

A modest and surprised Sam said: “I am very happy to be shortlisted. It has been a very difficult year and it is so lovely to know that we are still doing a good job. Thankyou to the people who nominated me.”

Richard Kramer, Chief Executive of national disability charity Sense, described Sam as a ‘selfless, positive mother and carer.’

“Disabled people and their families have been under huge pressure throughout the pandemic and have been disproportionately affected. Through the Sense Awards we are able to recognise the outstanding achievements by disabled people and supporters during this past year, such as Sam.

“She goes above and beyond in her caring duties ensuring that Olivia is connecting with those around her so she can fulfil her potential. Sam deserves this recognition for the love, care and support he has given to Olivia and her family.”

Winners will be announced on December 1. For more information visit: sense.org.uk/sense-awards/