Gamers aiming to support young Blackpool carers

The BBC's DIY SOS makeover for Blackpool Carers Centre was a game changer for the charity this time last year.

Thursday, 13th July 2017, 1:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:42 am
Liam Quinn and Andy Brown, of Play Expo, with the car bought for Blackpool Carers' Centre by charity Games Aid
Liam Quinn and Andy Brown, of Play Expo, with the car bought for Blackpool Carers' Centre by charity Games Aid

Now Blackpool gaming entrepreneur Andy Brown, 42, is calling for another game changer.

He’s urging the local business community to back the charity’s campaign for a respite lodge for young carers at Beaverbrooks House on Newton Drive.

Andy, the businessman behind Play Expo Blackpool at the Norbreck Castle this weekend, is already fighting the charity’s corner.

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Cosplay action at last year's Play Expo event

His company Replay Events expects 5,000 gamers from across the UK to gather in Blackpool, 70 per cent of them staying in hotels and guest houses. The weekend’s fun includes fund-raising for Blackpool Carers Centre which will also have a players there.

Last year they went to the Manchester Expo – one of 14 events organised by Replay Events each year – and braved the Escape Room.

Former young carers champion Liam Quinn, 18, now an apprentice respite worker for young carers reckons computer games get an undeserved bad press.

Liam, who nursed his mum right up to her death when he was 16, adds: “For a lot of young carers they’re a form of escape. You can’t go out because you’re looking after someone but you can escape through games. Before the carers’ charity found me, these games helped me. Great story telling, all about choices, learning from subtitles too – how to spell and so on.

Young Blackpool carers who took part in an escape rooms event at Play Expo

“My brother and I are complete opposites, we don’t have much in common to talk about – but we bond over a game.”

And Andy Brown, whose wife Helen is an adult carer support worker, helped the centre get a car and an additional full time worker through a donation of £94,5000 computer games charity Games Aid. Now he’s hoping they can be nominated once more for Games Aid help to wards a respite lodge.

He said: “My wife Helen opened my eyes to the good work done at the charity. DIY SOS was a game changer but now it’s all about utilising the building to its full potential – because it’s available for the whole of Blackpool to use.

“The respite lodge would assist young carers at a national level and be another feather in the charity’s cap.”

Cosplay action at last year's Play Expo event
Young Blackpool carers who took part in an escape rooms event at Play Expo