Making Carers Count - Young carers and young adult carers
Carers Trust is supporting local carer organisations to develop new services where dedicated support for young and young adult carers is widely inconsistent or does not exist. Together we will form strategic collaborations with other agencies, develop the capacity of our network of local carer organisations to facilitate the meaningful inclusion of young carers and young adult carers. We will adapt existing support, information, advice, and services to make them relevant and accessible.
Established in 1999, Bridgend Carers Centre provides information, advice and support to improve the wellbeing of unpaid carers of all ages. We have developed a range of specialist services including for parent carers, carers of people with cancer, Veteran/Armed Forces carers and carers of people living with dementia and young carers and young adult carers.
We provide practical and emotional support, respite activities, counselling, legal advice, and financial support through our Welfare Benefits Adviser.
About the project
The Making Carers Count project has extended and developed our support for young and young adult carers, improving accessibility for those in excluded communities throughout the County.
We have provided a range of outreach services, working closely with education and health professionals and community groups to raise awareness of young carers needs. Our aim is to reach currently unidentified young and young adult carers who may be unaware of their rights and the support available, and who may be at risk of social isolation and loneliness.
One of our project highlights would be attending the first All Wales Young Carers Festival in August 2022. Not only did this give young carers respite but it also allowed them to meet other young carers from across Wales. Staff also thoroughly enjoyed this event as they were also able to meet and create new partnerships to other young carers services in Wales.
At Carers Plus Yorkshire we believe unpaid Carers and those we support in the wider community should feel listened to, supported and empowered to live their best possible life. Our Mission is ‘to enable those we support to be heard, enhance their resilience, improve their well-being and make positive changes in their day to day lives’. We have been supporting Carers for over 25 years and recently took charge of services in Hambleton and Richmondshire in addition to our original geography (Scarborough, Whitby, Ryedale). When exploring the needs of this significant rural area we were acutely aware of the lack of a discrete Young Adult Carer Service and the limited footprint of our Young Carer service.
About the project
We aimed to provide a bespoke package of support for young people and young adults aged 16-30, we highlighted that this was a key area for support in our area. We also have a lot of rural areas which may be forgotten or have less options of support, we were then able to offer support in these areas, enabling us to help even more people. We have done activities to outdoor centers, meals in restaurants and mental health workshops. The Young adults have said they prefer 1:1 support over group support.
A young adult carer was able to gain support, he was able to gain a job, become a carers champion, and was empowered to get the right help for his dad, which in turn enabled him to move into his own place and live independently.
City & Hackney Carers Centre has been providing holistic support for unpaid carers of all ages since 1996. This includes respite provision / wellbeing activities, counselling, benefits advice, advocacy and small grants.
About the project
Our project is aimed at Young Adult Carers age 16 to 25 and provides more intensive support, including a personal support worker, weekly social group, monthly day trips / respite, youth centred counselling, domestic violence support, employment and training opportunities, and a dedicated WhatsApp group (in addition to the core services provided by the centre).
Our WhatsApp group is a very popular way for the young people to communicate, even if they don’t want to attend in-person activities and enables everyone to feel like they are part of something which is dedicated to them.
Connecting Young Carers (CYC) is a service within the region-wide charity Highland Community Care Forum. The aim of our work is to raise the profile of Young Carers, their rights and the vital role they play. Our Young Carer Community Workers help Young Carers to access the support, advice and help they need in their caring role and to have a life alongside caring. Our goal is to ensure that Young Carers are seen, heard and supported.
Our Young Carers are provided with respite opportunities through activity days, events and localised social groups. This helps them to feel less isolated by mixing with others in a similar situation. Further to this, the Community Workers work closely with the young people, their families, and professionals such as school staff and social work. All partnerships are key to supporting Young Carers to reach their full potential.
About the project
The project allows for further reach within the Highlands, through two Young Carers Community Workers, and the Online Worker. To raise awareness of who a Young Carer is, by working closely with young people, families and school staff. The Young Carers Community Workers have built key relationships within their areas, from schools to businesses. They know their respective areas best, which helps when organising events and activities. This project allows for social groups in each of the areas during school term, for the different age groups of Young Carers.
Events and activities are carried out during the school holidays, they help to build confidence, resilience, and open the young people up to new experiences and socialising. The Connecting Young Carers Online Worker has expanded the online reach of the organisation, through regular social media posts. This has helped to raise awareness of who we are, what we do, and how we can give Young Carers the voice they need to get the support that is right for them. They work closely with the CYC team, by developing and sharing the school holiday programmes at the right time of year, to encourage as many Young Carers as possible or Young Adult Carers to sign up.
For the Young Carers Community Workers, this is establishing themselves in the areas that the project covers, increasing understanding and knowledge of Connecting Young Carers. Through this it allows for Young Carers to have access to respite and information. The activities are highlights for the Young Carers, and the CYC team; arts & crafts, walking groups, attending the climbing wall and going bowling. These are great for building social skills, but also help to achieve a balance with their own mental health and physical wellbeing.
The CYC Online Worker has grown the reach of the social media platforms for CYC, as well as the number of Followers. By consistently putting out social media posts, this is keeping our Young Carers, families, and professionals fully aware of upcoming events and activities. In January the Facebook reach was up 244% on the previous month, for Instagram the reach increased by 54.1% for the same time frame. The number of Followers to the social media platforms increase month on month.
Credu is a Charity working alongside Young and Adult Carers in Powys and Ceredigion and Young Carers in Wrexham, Conwy and Denbighshire. We work in a place-based way with Outreach Workers covering geographic patches and a skilled first point of contact team who answer the phone to give ‘What matters conversations’ or support with signposting and information.
Credu believes in working in a strength based, person centred and outcome focused way that puts the Carer front and central. We recognize their skills and knowledge as contributors in co-designing what a good service looks like and value their thoughts and opinions.
About the project
Our project is building a campaign of Young Carers Awareness Raising which reaches out into our schools, community and health settings. As part of the campaign we are building a team of Young Carers Champions who are able to advocate for young carers and create a network of passion and action towards making a difference for young carers.
Credu works in a co-operative way with our Champions and partners drawing on the connections and strengths each individual or organisation can offer. We work co-productively with our Young Carers to involve them at every step of the way as they are the experts in what will work for their peers. The project is also training Young Carers who are interested, as Peer Mentors. The training covers building a good relationships and good communication skills, helping someone to make a change in their life and an introduction to safeguarding and boundaries within the role.
We have been building our Peer Mentor project through offering training opportunities to Young Adult Carers who tell us they want to give something back. They recognize how valuable having an older peer would have been for them, someone who ‘gets it’. Often the Yac’s are thinking about careers in health and Social Care or looking for work experience to build their confidence, have something to put on a C.V or on their personal statements. The training is split into three sections: Good communication and the power of relationships, Supporting someone to make a change in their life and Introduction to safeguarding and keeping boundaries in your role.
The trained Peer Mentors have been supporting in groups and trips, occasionally taking on an individual mentee in their school or within group. We have seen the value of the investment in this training through the individual’s growth in esteem, confidence and how they then put themselves forward for more challenges and opportunities.
The Central Carers Association (Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Carers Centre) is a growing and forward-thinking organisation with ambition to provide information and support to an increasing number of carers living in Falkirk district and Clackmannanshire. Carers of all ages can access individual support which includes a listening ear, Welfare Benefits support, short breaks grants, short break activities, and support to complete adult carer support plans and young carers statements. The organisation also presents opportunities for carers to attend regular group activities, carer training sessions and carer forums.
About the project
The Making Carers Count funding enabled us to recruit a dedicated young adult carer development worker. This has allowed us to ensure that young adult carers have access to the right support, can influence decision making and be involved in improving the knowledge and understanding that partnership organisations have of young adult carers and their needs. Over the course of the funding, we have worked in collaboration with our young adult carers to design, develop and deliver age-appropriate information, targeted individual support packages, group and social activity opportunities, and wider involvement experiences.
A highlight for the project has been taking 9 of our young adult carers on a 3-day residential to Loch Eil in Fort William. This was an opportunity for the young adult carers to have a break away from their caring role, while also trying some new experiences and developing their life skills. They took part in zipline, kayaking, team building, and a scramble up Glen Nevis. All of the young adult carers thoroughly enjoyed the trip and came back asking when we were going on the next one.
Harrow Carers is an independent charity and voluntary organisation and has been the lead carers’ support agency in Harrow since 1996. Our mission has always been to help the carers in the area, reduce the burden of care and increase the quality of your life. We believe that it’s important to recognise the significant contribution you make to your family, friends and society. Just over 10 years ago we started a young carers project growing into a full service since then.
We provide: counselling, Information & advice, Form Filling, dementia specific support, Hospital discharge, weekly activities and trips. For young carers we also deliver the DNA-V intervention program, schools awards, training , local authority young carers assessments, tutoring program with Harrow School and even have our own registered archery club.
About the project
With young carers coming through this left us with many young adult carers aged 16-25 who we realised were not transitioning into adult carers support. Through MCC we have focused on setting up services that launch young adult carers into their potential. Bridging the gap between the support of young and adult carer’s service. This involves their own groups, boxercise, archery, workshops, trips, one 2 one employment and life coaching support along with referrals to our other internal services where appropriate.
We deliver this in partnership with our friends at Carers Trust Hillingdon who have been successfully working with this age group for many years. Our goal is to support and transition Young adult carers and show the strength of network partners working in partnership.
Q’ story: Q was in the last year of her fashion school completing a master's. She lives alone with her father who has a multitude of serious health conditions. When she found our service she had been told by her course supervisor to give up as she couldn’t cope with the course and her caring role.
Kevin came along and encouraged her that her dreams could be achieved, she had a photoshoot project she hadn’t completed, he booked out the hall for her to do it and reached out to other YAC’s to come out and support her by taking part. He signposted her to speak with the right people at her university campus about what was happening and went along with her to the presentation events when she was worried about going. Kevin booked her in for counselling, helped her contact the right agency’s for the other issues she and her father were facing.
She has now passed with her master's in fashion when only 2 months ago was told to leave. This is the kind of YAC service I want to see, one that does not give up on young adults and encourages them not to give up on themselves but pursue their dreams.
In 2018-2019 Improving Lives Plymouth supported over 20,000 local people through information, advice and practical support. Improving Lives Plymouth is a charity at the heart of our community supporting individuals to improve their health and wellbeing. The organisation is made up of more than ten projects and partners including a veteran’s hub, carers groups, hearing and sight loss project, benefit and advice support, long term self-condition management, autism and learning disability project, a physical activity project aimed at getting people moving and many more.
About the project
We support young adult carers aged 18-25 as well as supporting 16-17 year old young carers to transition into adult services. The aim of the project is to offer free activities and services that appeal to the age range, offer some fun and respite as well as support productive interactions between users and professionals alike. As part of our offer we provide two monthly drop in sessions aimed at facilitating a space away from their caring role and responsibilities, 1-2-1 sessions and support planning in the community, statutory council carers assessments and attendance at events in the community to support understanding and identification of carers.
One of our key aims is to create stronger working relationships with education, training and employment services to ensure we are utilising existing service provision to its full potential. We work with the carer holistically, providing them with the right support, information and tools to fulfil their aspirations alongside their caring role.
A project highlight has been the peer to peer support that has grown from our monthly drop ins and activities. This interaction was formed from our Instagram page where they initially set up a group chat between a few of them after a particular drop in session. Since then they have added every new member to the group as they have arrived. They regularly talk to one another to check if they are attending the drop in or activity, will comment on one another’s posts and have even met up outside of the group in their own time to socialise. They have become friends with each other as they enjoy going to parties, fireworks, football games etc. it has been a real pleasure seeing these friendships flourish more and more each month.
Swansea Carers Centre
Swansea Carers Centre is a specialist voluntary organisation providing support to unpaid carers and former carers across the City & County of Swansea. We offer information, advice and support to make life easier for the carer and the person they are looking after. We provide opportunities to meet other carers, share experiences and work together to get things changed for the benefit of everyone. All our services are completely free and confidential.
About the project
The aim of the project is to improve YAC wellbeing, resilience & increasing community awareness . We aim to do this by:
· Early intervention - information and advice support for YACs to prevent crisis and improve wellbeing reducing the needs of individuals to access higher tier services.
· Reducing isolation through YACs accessing peer support groups/youth club/ events/activities and making new social networks
· Improving education outcomes for YACs in Swansea - increased retention and attainment of students with caring responsibilities
· More co-production opportunities in planning/ shaping of local services
· YAC have increased awareness of available support and how to access it
· Hidden YAC more likely to recognise themselves as a carer
· Raising awareness of YACs with health & social care inc. GP surgeries.
The Create Project: This project was run with the Create Project and the Carers Trust. We had four of our YACs attend this event. The chosen medium was photography. Participants were invited to look at the world with a different viewpoint, taking time to slow down. Here the YACs spent three days together with the Create team to look at the medium of photography, on what photographs meant and said to them and how this medium could capture their own identity, especially as a carer. From here, the group worked to produce a slideshow of their artwork at a showcase event, ‘Make Time for Young Carers’.
Shetland Carers aimed to support and empower unpaid carers to manage their caring role and have a life alongside caring. Shetland Carers is part of Voluntary Action Shetland, the third sector interface. This funding was used to employ a new worker solely dedicated to young carers and young adult carers in Shetland. The role worked with key partners to identify young carers and provided a support service to identified young carers.