The importance of support for local Young Carers
Young Carers are young people to help to look after a family member due to, for example, an illness, disability, challenges with their mental health condition or a drug or alcohol problem. They may do extra tasks at home, such as helping with the cleaning and cooking, even providing emotional support too. As a result, Young Carers may miss out on activities and opportunities to socialise with their peers.
At The Benjamin Foundation, we provide positive activities for Young Carers through our BOOM! Young Carers service and our partnership with Carers Matter Norfolk and Voluntary Norfolk to help deliver the Norfolk County Council funded service for Young Carers.
We are committed to supporting young people to help them meet some of the unique challenges they face and want to offer them the chance to have a break from some of their day to day pressures in a fun and friendly environment, with an 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 Young Carers.
The youngest of her siblings, Josie* is age 18. She lives in Norfolk with her family and helps to care for her parents, both of whom have had significant challenges with their health for several years. We spoke to Josie recently and she explained more about her role at home and the support she receives from The Benjamin Foundation:
“Me and my sister do a lot of the daily tasks at home. We help my Mum to wash, and we also chop the vegetables for tea. Mum likes to be as independent as possible but we sometimes cook tea if she isn’t feeling up to it. We help with the washing and loading the dishwasher too. We also help with housework and do the hoovering.
We’ve always had help from The Benjamin Foundation – I’ve been going to Young Carers groups since I was about six. It’s nice to get out of the house and see other people my age.
At the groups, we do things like play board games, play football. My favourite thing to do is arts and crafts. We’ve even had a pamper night where we had face masks and had our nails done.
When I’m there I feel nice and relaxed.
We sometimes go on trips too. Our family can’t always do things like that like other families. Just this week we’ve been to Thorpe Park – that was really fun! I went on load of rides. It’s not something I would usually be able to do as Mum and Dad can’t get around very easily.
We’ve also done activities in local woodlands and climbed trees, and a while ago we also went on a residential trip – We stayed in a school. We slept on gym mats and enjoyed lots of activities like team building and crafts.
Having this help makes a lot of difference to our family. It is good to get out and see other people who understand what you’re going through.”
When talking about the importance of support for Young Carers, Josie says:
“On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s 10. It’s important for people who help to look after their families to have time on their own, see people their own age and it’s nice to have a break.”
*Name has been changed.
Thank you to Josie for sharing her story.
If you would like to make a donation to support more young people in Norfolk and Suffolk, visit: https://benjaminfoundation.co.uk/donate/