Christmas is a time for family, for tradition and celebration. At CarePlanner we have a tradition of our own: the 12 Carers of Christmas is about celebrating home carers for the amazing work they do year round. While health care is about keeping people alive, social care is about keeping people living their best lives. Our 12 carers are uplifting examples of the power and purpose of home care, and show how critical and valuable a service it is for all of our communities.

Our first carer of Christmas this year is Katherine Skinner. Katherine is a dedicated carer who works with individuals, groups and her own family. In fact, it was Katherine’s husband Paul who nominated her, as he felt she deserved recognition for the incredible impact she has on the lives of those around her. Though, as we soon discovered, he was far from the only one who thought that.

Katherine works primarily with Homegroup in Birmingham alongside their Support Coordinator Natasha Day.

“‘Let me tell you about Katherine,” Natasha says. “This wonderful woman is a volunteer with Home Group Carers Support Service. In the almost 7 years I’ve known her as a carer in her own right there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t seen her smile. She lights up the room and doesn’t even realise it. Throughout the difficult times of the pandemic she continued to support everyone, offering an emotional ear when most needed, contributing to our social media to keep spirits high and more importantly sharing information about food banks and other services to help anyone going through a difficult time.

“Katherine also supports me to deliver several activity-based carer groups. She takes the lead with her skills and although going through a difficult time herself manages to provide hilarious entertainment which lifts the spirits of some of our carers who are at a very low point.

“Katherine fills our hearts with joy. The strength of this incredible woman drives me to be a better person and may this continue for a very long time.”

Katherine dancing with Rafia

Katherine possesses that special gift for being able to connect with anyone she meets, and has made a habit of lifting them up, with either a listening ear, a helping hand or just some simple directions. Michelle Jeffers volunteers with Katherine at Homegroup and insisted on adding her voice to the celebration.

“I’ve worked alongside Katherine in volunteering for Homegroup and we have become very very good friends,” says Michelle. “I’m honoured to add my name to those giving Katherine the deserved recognition for all her hard work and dedication. Whether it’s creativity crafting, sharing her experiences or encouraging and inspiring others, she has kept up a lot of people’s spirits before and during the pandemic. She even arranged essentials to give to us all! A lovelier, more humble person I’ve yet to meet.”

Even when facing her own health problems in recent times, Katherine continues to help whomever she can, whenever she can. As Paul put it, “There is never a time when she is too busy to help others.”

Katherine at Arts All Over the Place

One of the groups she helps with is Arts All Over the Place, a charity that uses the creative arts to help with mental health challenges in Birmingham. Rachel Charlotte Green is a project manager with Arts All Over the Place, and wanted to add her experience with Katherine to our celebration.


“Katherine is one of the most caring people I have ever worked with,” she says. “Despite the difficulties she faces, she always helps vulnerable people in our workshops. She does this by listening carefully and attentively helping out with creative tasks in our community engagement projects.”

Listening, attention, understanding – without these things our connections to the world around us break down. To be able to give these gifts so freely and so widely is a precious thing – it is home care at its people-focussed finest, it is year long Christmas spirit and it is Katherine Skinner everyday.