Christina Larsen will draw on years of personal experience to help and support others after being confirmed as the Council’s new Carers Champion.

The Irvine South Councillor – elected for the first time in May – will offer support, guidance and expertise to other carers in a role she describes as a privilege.

The mum-of-three is in a better position than most having spent the last 13 years caring for middle son Peter.

He was diagnosed with the severest form of autism in 2003 in what was a life-changing moment for Christina and her husband Paul.

Christina has been a full-time carer to Peter and experienced a range of emotions and challenges unique to her and others in a similar situation.

Speaking at the start of Carers Week, Christina said: “It hasn’t been easy. There have been times where I’ve been in tears. I’ve been struggling, but you just get on with it.

“People sometimes ask ‘how do you cope, how do you do it?’. But this is your life, this is someone you love. So you put everything to one side to focus on the person you are caring for. Anything you feel goes on the backburner. You develop coping mechanisms. You lose friends and your life changes - but you just do your best.

“Peter has never been, and never will be, a burden. We are blessed to have him. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve a supportive family and myself and my husband Paul have always been on the same page in terms of Peter’s care. That has helped massively. It can be very difficult for couples when they are caring for somebody. The divorce rate is disproportionately high.

“Carers are called the silent army – because they put others first and don’t speak up for themselves. But that can have consequences too in terms of mental health and your physical wellbeing.

“So I know what it’s like to be a carer and I feel so honoured and privileged to be the Carers Champion. I am going to do absolutely everything I can and will try and help as much as I can.

“I will bring empathy to the role and I hope that I can be a voice for all carers.”

Christina also brings knowledge having successfully completed a postgraduate diploma in Autism back in 2016.

She added: “I’d been a stay-at-home mum caring for Peter so going to Strathclyde University was a big thing for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a hugely rewarding experience.

“Of course I have the practical experience, so it’s good now to have some of the theory behind it.

“I can’t provide all the answers but I’m sure carers will be able to speak to me and relate to me. Some might find it easier speaking to me than with a professional.

“Empathy is certainly a very good starting point – I will certainly have that in abundance.” Christina was named the Carers Champion at the first Cabinet meeting following the Council Election in May. And Carers Week – June 12-17 – marks a great opportunity for Christina to make her mark.

She added: “I want to get out and meet people and try and speak with as many people as possible. “When we were bringing up Peter we did it on our own really. But there is lots of support out there. Hopefully I’ll be able to pass on some tips or signpost people in the right direction.

“I would urge people to embrace as much help as possible. In North Ayrshire, we have the Carers Centre which I would urge all carers to register with. We all also have the Carers Appreciation Card which entitles carers of all ages to range of discounts, offers and concession.”

Find out more about the card at