The Princess Royal paid tribute to those who give up their time to help others as she visited Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre.
HRH Princess Anne, President of the Carers Trust, was at the Frederick Street centre in Hindley, to see first hand the work that they are doing to help and support carers in the Wigan borough.
She met centre chairwoman Clare Wareing and chief executive Pauline Gregson who accompanied her throughout the visit.
The centre offers a wide range of respite therapies and activities and provides a place where carers can go for advice, advocacy, support and friendship.
The Princess also met funders, trustees, staff, therapists and volunteers who deliver the services, along with many unpaid carers including a group of young carers and young adult carers who are supported by the centre.
Before leaving, she unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit, receive a posy from a carer and was invited to sign the visitors’ book.
Centres like this have been important in helping us to understand those needs of carers and how to represent that more widelyPrincess Anne
Speaking to those present, she said: “Can I just say a big thank-you to everyone who set up the centre and for your involvement with the network with the Carers Trust.
“There’s no doubts that our ability to help carers generally actually requires us to know a lot more about individual carers and their needs.
”Centres like this have been important in helping us to understand those needs of carers and how to represent that more widely.
“Your experience gives an enormous amount of support to others who maybe feel they aren’t quite sure how to do it and make it work and centres like this give an enormous amount of encouragement to others who would like to have a centre and know that there are carers out there they would like to support.
“The mixture of volunteers, local authority support and other organisations, which can make such a difference at a place like this.
“There are a number of things that need to come into place ta the same time, like the venue, where it is, how accessible it is and the relationship with the local authority.
You’ve done incredibly well here and thank you very much for that and for your contribution to the network as a whole, it’s been a pleasure to be here today.”
Mrs Gregson said: “She had an excellent knowledge of carers. We showed her around, she met our debt and benefit adviser but first of all she met some volunteers in reception. She also met some carers and staff and young carers too.
“We had a bouquet of flowers presented by a young carer too. It’s absolutely brilliant that the princess came out to see first hand the work we are doing but also her interest in carers and her knowledge was great, I couldn’t fault her I thought she was so interesting.”