“Respect their contribution; respect what young carers do”

Royal visitor  supports  and congratulations young carers as praise continues to pour in for  the Worcestershire Young Carers and their  conference

vicky mark and ness at table14 Young Carers helped plan, organise and chair YSS Worcestershire Young Carers conference at drp group Hartlebury.  drp and Children in Need supported this young person run event aimed at raising the awareness of Young Carers.

For the delegates of school nurses, education staff, Children in Need, Worcester County Council, Early Help, funders of young carers activities and many other organisations working with children, young people and families in Worcestershire, they were clearly moved (in some cases shocked and in tears)  from the stories as  the young people shared their caring journeys. With the very generoused and hrh assistance of communications company drp, they  created several films for the event, including  younger  carers stories,   and  also scripted, acted and filmed  scenarios highlighting the  barriers  faced  by many young carers in schools, doctors surgeries and  one focused on peer  bullying.

fab cakesHere are some extracts from their journeys:

  • We go to club once a month to chill out and relax as well as have some fun. The Young Carers team have given me a shoulder to cry on when times get tough allowing me to express my feelings and emotions, instead of bottling them up.”
  • “Being a young carer is more than cooking and cleaning, it’s about helping and supporting the person you care for”
  •  “As well as caring for my mum, I am also a full time student. Juggling my responsibilities and priorities between the two is extremely hard, which causes me to fall behind in my work a lot of the time making me stay up till the early hours of the morning. “
  • “I worry about my family and feel that I never stop thinking about them wherever I am or whatever I am doing”
  • “I’ve changed a lot – my confidence has grown and I enjoy meeting new people.  I am now involved with the Focus Group as I wanted to give something back.”
  • “I’ve been caring for Dad all my life but I was more aware of caring for him as I got older.”
  • “At one stage I wasn’t coping that well and I self harmed”
  • “We find it quite difficult to cope sometimes but we have become more independent and have matured in a way most people haven’t our age.”
  • diana fulbrook kate thackeray workshop 1“They supported me with one-to-one support, breaks away, monthly clubs, days out and a chance to have my voice heard through the Focus Group.”
  • “Since joining young carers, my confidence has grown and I have benefited through meeting new people with similar issues. 
  • “Young carers have helped me reach my full potential. Such as helping me find an apprenticeship last year which has lead me to get a full time job”
  • Young carers gave me the opportunity to make life long friends even though all of our situations were different.”

young carers group full 1HRH The Princess Royal in response to hearing these  noted that  “There is a lot of work  going on, including through Worcestershire Young Carers, yet  there are a lot more young people out there who might need appropriate support. “ “But above all and this was mentioned by one of the carers  sharing their story, is to respect their contribution, to respect what young carers do. Not condemn them, not to say they shouldn’t be doing it, respect what they do and endeavour to support them better in their ability to do their caring role.”

clare marchant speaking at young carers conference 2Clare Marchant, Chief Executive of  Worcestershire County Council opened the  conference and Paul Finnemore, Commissioning Manager for Young People together  with  Amanda Williams, Young Carers School Nurse champion, explained  the changes  in the Carers Act and the developments  which  have been achieved since the first conference.  A pilot project in GP practices, identifying   those with caring needs, the start of the Schools Programme and the  improvement in some schools in raising awareness to staff and pupils. Opportunities for more flexible part time courses for carers at University of Worcester  were  explained  by Kate Thackeray, Senior lecturer. The conference  was delighted to hear from Hannah Alcock, Regional officer, that Children in Need   support 91 young carers projects  across the UK, and their  goal is to  make life a bit easier  for these carers.

It was an amazing event with young carers so involved. This   helped raise the profile of holly sarah with lucy and sueYoung Carers and gave them a voice to tell more of their lives. One delegate said “The young people were really great to speak to, so knowledgeable, and a big thank you goes to them for planning such a great day”.  Mandi Bishop, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust  posted “An amazing event and the young people are very inspirational. Gave me a lot to think about how to approach my own work.”

early help group 5 michelle clarkeDelegates were clearly inspired by the conference to look at ways they can make a difference in their work place to ensure they identify and support Young Carers.  Some of the goals that the delegates are hoping to achieve following the conference  are “Use the quiz to raise awareness across  NHS staff”;” Continue with Young Carers Trailblazer initiative “; “ Add an advice section  in our news letter”; “ Spread the word via assemblies, leaflets and any opportunities”; “Broaden  the scope of awareness  raising work across  pharmacists and First response services”; “ Fund raise for young carers  activities”.

hannah needham hannah alcock ange p and ness workshop 1Improving young carers lives and identifying unknown young carers we hope will be a priority in many more organisations following this event.

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