A virtual Festival for Scottish young carers in 2021!
The Scottish Young Carers Festival will sadly not go ahead in its usual format in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2021 would have been the Festival’s 14th year, providing young carers with a much needed break from their caring responsibilities. Young carers provide unpaid care for a family member or a friend, who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.
The Festival provided the opportunity for young carers to meet other young people in similar situations, share new experiences and of course, have fun! The event also provided a national celebration for young carers to share their experiences, the impact that caring has on them and to suggest changes that could make their lives better.
Carers Trust Scotland and the Scottish Government have been working with young carers and their services to continue the delivery of an online Festival, and have responded to young carers’ feedback from last year to make this year’s Festival the best it can be!
Scottish Government funding is providing over £100,000 for Carers Trust Scotland to administer a small-grant scheme to eligible young carer services. These services will be able to apply for funding to provide fun and respite to the young carers they support. The outcomes of this scheme are broad to ensure that services can take a local, tailor-made approach in supporting their young people and provide meaningful respite in a safe way.
Furthermore, Carers Trust Scotland will bring the fun to young people through our online Festival activity! On Tuesday 3 August, the Scottish Young Carers Festival 2021 webpage will launch, where young carers can access over 40 pre-recorded workshops. These will cover a whole range of topics including Just Fun, Life Skills and Self-Care, at the request of young carers. There will be the opportunity for young carers to take part in dozens of activities including; mindfulness, magic, comedy, arts and crafts, and learning a language!
The Festival also provides young carers with an opportunity to have their voices heard. On Wednesday 4 August, Carers Trust Scotland will be hosting a “Young Carer Voice: Consultation Event”, providing young carers with the opportunity to discuss important issues and speak directly to key decision makers. The event will include interactive consultation workshops, followed by a Q&A panel.
This year’s alternative Scottish Young Carers Festival takes place during a time which remains relatively challenging for unpaid carers. Recent research undertaken by Carers Trust Scotland highlights the experiences and challenges that the pandemic has created for unpaid carers, and consequently, carer support workers and carer services.
Many unpaid carers found that they were spending more time caring, with less opportunity to get a break. Many felt the needs of the person(s) they care for had intensified, and found their responsibilities increasing as a result of other services being paused or closed. This impacted on unpaid carers’ mental and physical health.
These results highlight the need for continued support to young carers and the opportunity for meaningful respite and engagement opportunities throughout the year. Despite the cancellation of our Scottish Young Carers Festival, our small-grant scheme and online activities aim to provide fun and respite to these young people in alternative, safe ways.
Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, Kevin Stewart MSP, said:
“We know – because young carers have told us – what a difficult time they have had during the pandemic. I want to thank them again for all they have done and continue to do for their loved ones and for our communities. I am looking forward to taking part in the Young Carers Festival consultation event, and hearing directly from young people about their experiences and any help they need.
"We know how important it is for young carers to have a break from the routine and a chance to come together and enjoy themselves. This isn’t easy in the current circumstances, so I am delighted to see the innovative approach that has been taken to this year’s online Festival.
"Alongside the Festival, we have provided £100,000 for local young carer services to run additional fun activities for the young carers they work with.
"The Festival is not just a chance to take a break from caring, it is an opportunity to let us know what we are doing right and what we could be doing better. The Scottish Government will continue to engage directly with young carers, and listen to what they are telling us to ensure that we address their needs.”
Paul Traynor, Head of External Affairs at Carers Trust Scotland, said:
“We are delighted to be working again with Scottish Government to deliver these new kind of Festival activities for young carers across Scotland for 2021. The pandemic has been difficult for a lot of young carers and many have reported taking on additional caring responsibilities, feeling isolated, and feeling disconnected to their friends and wider communities. Although some young carers may be disappointed that the annual Scottish Young Carers Festival can’t take place again in the usual way, the small-grant scheme provides opportunities for local young carer services to plan and deliver activities to ensure young carers still have an opportunity to get a break from caring and have fun. The Young Carer Voice consultation event will also give young carers across Scotland a meaningful opportunity to have their voices heard by key decision makers and discuss the issues that matter to them most.”
Further information and interviews
Paul Traynor, Head of External Affairs for Carers Trust Scotland, Tel: 07824 542 964 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicola Bell, Youth Engagement Officer for Carers Trust Scotland, Tel: 07827 914 634 or email: email@example.com.
Notes on the survey results:
461 unpaid carers responded in COVID-19 in Scotland: The Impact on Unpaid Carers and Carer Service Support Workers.
Notes to Editors
The Scottish Young Carers Festival is organised by Carers Trust Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance. It is funded by the Scottish Government. For more information about the Scottish Young Carers Festival, please visit: https://carers.org/scottish-young-carers-festival.