The Challenge of Being A Young Carer
Cheshire Young Carers (CYC) offers support to disadvantaged young carers across Cheshire. CYC responds to the needs of children and young adults aged 6-18 who themselves provide care to a parent or sibling with a mental illness, entrenched substance misuse, physical illness and other conditions or disabilities. Their caring responsibilities often impact considerably on their life chances and young carers are disadvantaged both socially, emotionally and often educationally by being unable to enjoy free time and activities that their peers take for granted. They are twice as likely to be not in education, training or employment (NEET) at 16+ and are more vulnerable and prone to require professional interventions. They often experience behavioural and psychological difficulties and mental illness of their own. CYC services provides a break from their caring role, enabling them to make friends and take part in organised activities which help to improve health and wellbeing and reduces the negative impact of their caring responsibilities. Often the pressures, difficulties and complexities of their caring role, as well as dealing with the challenges of growing up affects their self-esteem and confidence. Their education is often impacted due to poor attendance, concentration, social inclusion and attainment which affects their lives.
Support and Activities
Our aim is to consult with young carers to ascertain/identify their needs and aspirations. Working closely with partners in Education, Health and Care services plus many other private and public sector organisations, we aim to provide appropriate bespoke support and activities for vulnerable young carers. We strive to contribute and improve the health, wellbeing and future life prospects of our service users throughout the key transitional stages in their lives and ensuring equality of opportunity.
School Holiday Programme
We offer a wide range of activities depending on the young carers needs, following research amongst young carers it became very clear that one of the key periods that young carers needed a structured break from their caring role was during school holiday periods. As a result of this one of our main services is running activities throughout each school holiday period, the feedback we receive from young carers and parents alike shows how without these events being ran for free or us organising transport for some young carers then they wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience otherwise. This includes running residentials and trips away – most recently to the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, the feedback from this shows us that each and every child who attended experienced a minimum of five first-time experiences.
Young Adult Carers (YAC)
The YAC programme is age specific and creates a tailored space for them to meet and develop friendship groups. The programme is developed depending on the needs of the young carers and we support them in growing their confidence and independence, we devise programmes to encourage independent use of public transport, learning new skills wherever necessary and also our in to work initiative. The In To Work initiative is designed to provide real work exposure for the young adult carers, we want them to realise their potential and support them in fulfilling it.
What They Say
“The zoo was good – but the skiing was amazing, I’ve never done that before and it was nice to see people when I’m off school as well” Young carer
“It’s nice to see this group as they’re my closest friends and I never do anything over the summer. It’s amazing that we had our own choices and going bowling is just the kind of thing I wouldn’t have had the chance to do without Cheshire Young Carers” Young carer
“I loved Liverpool!! It really opened my eyes, when we went on a behind the scenes tour of the Everyman Theatre I found out that there were so many different jobs involved, I learned about drama being used as therapy which sounds amazing and something I will look at doing in the future – I wouldn’t even know about it without Cheshire Young Carers” Young adult carer
“I would just like to say a big thank you to you and all the other staff. I really don’t know what I would have done without you doing these activities as I have been more poorly than usual over the holidays. Both the girls really enjoyed everything that they went to and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for me not having to feel the guilt of not being able to take them out. What you all do is amazing and imaginative and you should all be very proud of yourselves.” Parent
“Child E is a fantastic little girl and I would be lost without her. She does more for us as a family than any child should, she helps when I’m poorly. Cheshire young carers do a fab job helping and supporting these young carers in their roles and also helping them to be kids again. My daughter’s confidence has grown so much since attending these sessions. From the bottom of my heart I thank Cheshire Young Carers and Children Adventure Farm Trust for everything you do. She has just arrived home and had an amazing time" Parent
“Without your support, my children wouldn’t really get a break and have other adults to talk to who they trust like that” Parent
“We're honoured to offer these amazing children a break away from their caring roles in a supportive, fun and safe environment here at Children's Adventure Farm Trust (CAFT). These children deserve to be celebrated every day of the week, but especially today - National Siblings Day today. We're in awe of these caring young children and it's an honour to spend time with them during their stay.” CAFT
“Today’s trip 26th August 2017 – our guests were Cheshire Young Carers who gave us a couple of thank you cards at the end of the trip, the first time that has happened, and it was very kind of them to do that. It was an absolute pleasure to have such a lovely group of people on the boat” Narrowboat Trust
“Cheshire Young Carers is, for me, one of the most important charities in Cheshire. Caring is perhaps the most undervalued role in our society and this is even more so when it is young people who are the carers. These young people, through no fault of their own, have no alternative other than to care for one or both parents and/or their siblings. For those of us who do not have to do this, it is almost impossible to think of their daily routine and their daily stress. And, of course, they have to do all this on top of their school work and for no financial reward. They do it because they love the person for whom they care.” Supporter
Many thanks to Joanne Evans-Stone for this blog post to celebrate the fabulous work of Cheshire Young carers. For more information on Cheshire Young Carers visit their website http://www.cheshireyoungcarers.org/
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