This week is Carers Week, and we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight and recognise the valuable contribution unpaid carers make to their families and communities. Young carers need a break from their caring role too, and over the Easter holidays we ran a range of activities across the county.
This past Easter holiday we ran a whole host of activities for young carers to engage in respite from their caring roles, establish peer support and take part in fun activities which had a positive impact on their physical or mental wellbeing.
This particular holiday was jam packed with activity, with us as a service only launching last year our numbers were still relatively low last Summer so this was the first full 2-week holidays with young carers spread over Staffordshire to provide activity for.
We had two fun Easter activity days including crafts, cooking and circus skills, an outward-bound activity day, which included Sarah and Cathryn climbing the high tower and jumping off the leap of faith with the pressure/encouragement of young carers!
We had a theatre trip with lunch out and two trips to the circus in different parts of the county for young carers and parents to allow them time away from their caring roles to spend quality time together, at which two young carer’s dads were taken on to the circus stage to participate, I’m not sure they’ve forgiven us but their children certainly found it hilarious!
We also ran our course for young carers – We Care. This is the course that we have developed for groups in schools which aims to reduce the negative impacts caring can have on a young person and provide them with the tools to manage their roles and the impact positively.
This is the first time we have delivered this course outside of school and ran it as a pilot.
We incorporated it into a 2-day holiday project for young carers aged 8-12 so it was planned with a fun slant including an Easter egg hunt and lots of crafts and games. It went really well, with young carers engaging and contributing positively and speaking openly about their caring roles away from the sometimes limiting structure of school.
One of the young carers said, ‘it is so nice to be with people who get it’ and a number hit it off, swapped numbers and encouraged each other to attend term time activities, which is exactly the legacy of peer support we aim for with these projects!
Putting together this provision is a lot of hard work, booking, advertising, targeting young carers, planning, organising transport, liaising with parents, supporting young carers, dealing with nerves, wobbles (quite a few on the zip line!).
But when we met as a team to evaluate, whilst we were cream crackered, we were swapping tales of friendships forged and confidence built, and it was obvious as staff we had really enjoyed offering this provision and we were really proud of ourselves and the young carers who took part – as we should be.
Now to plan Summer!
Learn more about how n-compass supports carers in the North of England: https://www.n-compass.org.uk/our-services/carers