We provide positive activities to young people who have limited opportunities, such as those who help care for a family member. We are committed to supporting Young Carers to help them meet some of the unique challenges they face. We want to give them the chance to escape their day to day pressures in a fun and friendly environment and offer them the opportunity to meet new friends and learn new skills. Having the chance to talk to an understanding and listening ear about their lives is an important part of our support for them.
To support Young Carers Awareness Day on 30th January 2020, Alice Stevenson, Young Carers Development Manager with The Benjamin Foundation talks about Young Carers, the role they have in their family and how we support them:
“Young Carers are young people and children of all ages who have a high care need in their family due to disability, poor emotional or physical health or substance abuse, for example. Caring could take the form of helping with day-to-day housework, emotional support, supporting their family member to get to appointments, amongst many other things.
Being a Young Carer can actually have an effect on their own health and wellbeing; it can limit their participation in social and educational activities as they try to juggle their caring roles with their school and social lives. Many Young Carers talk about feeling isolated and experience bullying due to their caring role.
We run a number of groups across Norfolk to give Young Carers time out from their family home and respite from their caring roles. The groups provide them with a safe space to meet other Young Carers and to have fun. Our sessions include yummy snacks, fun games, messy crafts, lots of chat and much more! We also provide 1-2-1 sessions for Young Carers needing a little more support.
Our groups give Young Carers time to be young people first and foremost. They give them the opportunity to meet other Young Carers in similar situations and help to break down any feelings of isolation they may have.
During school holidays we provide positive activities for Young Carers to take part in. These include overnight stays at activity centres, such as Kingswood on the North Norfolk coast, cooking workshops, film making days, trips to theme parks and bowling alleys amongst other things!
Parents often tell us that their children have become much more confident, especially after trips away, since joining our groups.
I feel proud when I see Young Carers become friends outside of the groups. They share phone numbers and social media accounts to stay in touch between the sessions. When I see this happen and hear them talking about conversations or meetings they’ve had outside of our groups, I feel that we have succeeded in helping to break down social isolation. Many Young Carers can find it hard to build friendships especially if their home life is such that they don’t feel they can invite friends home. Having friends who truly understand this can be invaluable.”
For more information about our BOOM! Young Carers service, please contact Alice Stevenson on 07880 242374 or visit https://benjaminfoundation.co.uk/service/boom-young-carers/
Thank you to all those who have made local support for young carers possible: Norfolk Superhero, Reepham Rotary, Young Carers Matter Norfolk, Voluntary Norfolk, Stalham Academy and Norfolk County Council.
It’s an eye-opening experience – I can’t imagine having to do this day in, day out. The best thing is seeing so many people taking part.