Like most charities, the effect of COVID-19 has been hard-hitting. While some of our services and our shops have closed temporarily, our service for local Young Carers has adapted to current circumstances to provide virtual support. Young Carers Development Manager, Alice Stevenson explains more:
“Here in the Young Carers Team, despite not being able to run our usual face to face groups and 1-2-1 support we are continuing to support Young Carers. We are phoning, texting, emailing and video calling our Young Carers on a regular basis to check that they and their families have all that they need and are coping with their new circumstances.
Two weeks into lockdown we also started up our first ever virtual Young Carers groups! Using Microsoft Teams we are running three groups each week. A group for our Stalham Young Carers, one for our Watton Juniors and another for our Watton Seniors. It is brilliant to see everyone’s faces again! Each week I am emailing out a worksheet with a fun activity to do which focuses on wellbeing – mental and physical – so during the groups we talk about that week’s activity and what they have done around it. We also play fun games such as ‘If I could go to the shops I would buy….alphabet game”, treasure hunts and quizzes.
Not being able to go out and see their friends or have friends over to theirs has always been an issue for many Young Carers due to their caring circumstances and I have had one tell me that they feel that maybe their friends will now realise what life has always been for them now they are experiencing the same.
The thing that most of the Young Carers told us during a group is that what they are missing most is school. School is often the place of refuge for them. The place they go to have some respite from their caring roles and home situation. We hope that by having our weekly virtual groups we are offering them an hour a week where they can have some fun with their peers, albeit in a different way to before.
What we do know is that Young Carers are often very resilient having had to deal with more in their home lives than many of their peers and we are finding that many are coping with the new way of life extremely well.”
For more information about our support for Young Carers, please visit: https://benjaminfoundation.co.uk/service/boom-young-carers/
Something which stood out from the other nurseries is how keen staff are to try new things and develop the facilities and activities.