Broomhouse Young Carers
A story by THE BROOMHOUSE CENTRE
Broomhouse Young Carers Project aimed to improve the quality of life for young carers age 7-25 years in South West Edinburgh. We provide a range of support for Young Carers through group work/peer support and residential’s, giving opportunities for respite and head space away from their caring role.
What Broomhouse Young Carers did
We increased our capacity of young carers group work support from running 3 groups each week to 4 groups. We were able to increase the capacity of support we could offer to 20 more young carers in South West Edinburgh. Our groups are now divided into age ranges (7-9 yrs/10-13 yrs/14-16 yrs and 16-25 yrs) and are spread over 4 groups each week. Across the groups we have provided for 88 young carers within our groups in the last year.
Creating another evening meant we could focus on specific age ranges and target the support based on their age and stage such as the new Tuesday evening group for our 10-13 yrs old's. We ran of range of fun sessions giving young carers much needed headspace and respite away from their caring role, we ran sessions around transition to high school, personal hygiene, online safety, cooking, swimming, values exercise, coaching sessions around their relationship with the person they cared for and all the young carers got the opportunity to go on a residential during the year.
We worked in partnership with a range of providers such as Napier University and Edinburgh College to provide us with space for some of our activities. We have also worked in partnership with Fast forward, SHE Scotland, LGBT, Columbia 1400, Outward Bound, Wiston Lodge and the Roses project for our issue based sessions and residential's.
We successfully recruited another 2 volunteers and managed to increase our project worker and sessional workers hours to cover the additional group session. We addressed the creative breaks priority area of Choice and Control we ran group consultation sessions whereby the views and opinions of the young people were listened to and their choices were put in place. All young carers were present and had the opportunity to give their opinion on specific sessions they wanted to have in the programme and why they felt it was important.
We felt that this gave the young carers a sense of ownership of the space and the support provided to them. Outreach priority, we made contact and are working closer with feeder primary/high schools to address this need and have identified 3 hard to reach young carers living in rural areas and 2 new Black Minority Ethnic Carers.
What THE BROOMHOUSE CENTRE has learned
As a project we have noticed a significant rise in recent referrals. I believe this to be because we are working hard at delivering sessions in schools and with other professionals to raise awareness of hidden young carers. In addition to this we have been networking a lot more and have a good social media presence to make our project known and the work that we do.
As a charity we will always look to find other sources of funding as we aim to continually develop our successful project so we can support many more young carers in the future. We will always strive to support as many young carers as we can and we plan on doing this through continuing to reach out to partners, wider networks, schools and families in our local community of South West Edinburgh.
Partnership working is key to delivering a service that opens more opportunities for young people and builds the young peoples awareness on what is on offer to them to access in and around the city of Edinburgh. Our residential's are always a huge success and we have been lucky to have good partners in the last year that have made it all possible in addition to this fund.
How THE BROOMHOUSE CENTRE has benefitted from the funding
Without this funding it would not have been possible to increase our capacity to support more young carers. This funding has meant at least 20 additional young carers have had access to support in the last year and will now continue to do so. We are very excited to have a new building and new resources becoming available to us in the summer 2019 and all our young carers will benefit from this. Through us having this increased capacity it has also meant we could branch out and work closer with feeder schools and other organisations to make them aware of the space for support this fund made available.
Outcome: 20 young carers from a multiple deprived community will be reporting they feel happier and more confident. We will organise a new 2 hour evening group for 20 young carers for 46 weeks of the year, we will organise a 3 day residential.
This outcome was achieved fully as we now support 20 additional young carers within our new group and have ran residentials. At our evaluation session with the groups the young carers were asked to describe themselves/what do they think of themselves since coming to the group, what their hopes were for the future and what the group done for them: 'I am friendly, caring and different, I am healthy because I am always on the run, It makes me feel like I am helping, I feel more involved in my family life, It has helped me come out of my shell, Going to Young Carers makes me happy, I can be myself It gives me more confidence and it gives me time to get away from all the stress and pressure and it gives me a place and someone to talk to when I am worried, scared, upset, happy, excited or confused, Going to camp is amazing because when I go there I am scared of the activities, but once I do them they are not actually that scary and I only found that out because Young Carers take me.'
Thirteen year old R from Edinburgh has been using the Broomhouse Young Carers service for a number of years, she helped care for her mother and young siblings as her mother has physical difficulties and depression. R used to miss out on seeing friends and going out because she was so busy at home and also had had lots of her own issues. She describes these as: Scared , angry , lost, had nobody to speak to, alone frightened a total mess, I was a very angry person, did not know what to do, did not know where to start who I was. Bottled things up all my life! “You don’t really realise you’re missing out on anything because it’s just what you’re used to. I would come home from school, do my homework so by the time all that was done, the night was over and it was time for bed” Broomhouse Young Carers helped her to enjoy her childhood through taking part in many different activities and events. That’s one of the great things about the project, we get to go to all these different places and do so many different activities which I’ve never done before and wouldn’t have had the chance to do without them. That’s why the young carer’s project is so great, it helps young carers develop another life other than the one they have at home. Support from Broomhouse has meant that R more confident because she has had lots of new experiences and knows there is always someone to talk to if she needs advice: This has included 1-1 support and some life coaching with the support worker. R now shares the differences it has made:I feel happy, proud of how far I have come, feel and look healthier, I am better than I used to be, I open up to more people, I have more control over my anger. Wiser, more understanding about my feelings and emotions, I know more about my boundaries, I have more strength to cope, I have courage to carry on, I have taken the leap in faith in myself, Not surrounding myself with negative people. “My confidence has shot through the roof it’s also wonderful to know you have someone to turn to. If I ever need support or need to talk to the session workers about anything I know they’ll be there. I know for once I can actually say without being negative and I am proud of myself and what I have achieved in the last year especially. I still care for Mum but I can be my own person as well. If it was not for Broomhouse Young Carers and my support worker I would not have got this far.
20 young carers from a multiple deprived community will be taking part in a 2 hour weekly group that offers a host of stimulating and exciting activities. We will organise a new 2 hour evening group for 20 young carers for 46 weeks of the year Target 2: We will organise a 3 day residential.
This project outcome was met fully and we evaluated the impact through a group evaluation session asking the young carers, How does the group help them? 'Coming to Young Carers makes me happy because it is a good opportunity, I love when we go to camps and when we do fun stuff, When I am at Broomhouse Young Carers I can be with friends, it makes me feel better about stuff. Coming to the group has let me have new experiences and how that happened is they take me on fantastic residential's and we get to do a lot of activities like camp fire, trapeze, gorge walking, capture the flag and more. Coming to the group lets me meet new friends and I have met a lot of friends over the years I have been here. Also sometimes it makes me happy because I get to do some things that other children wouldn’t get to do like getting to Young Carers and getting to have responsibility to look after someone. I have lots of choice at Young Carers. I get to do a lot more than I did before and I get to have a lot more choice.'
Peter is 13 yrs old and has been a young carer for several years and lives at home with his Mum and younger Sister who has Downs Syndrome. Peter’s caring role is assisting his mum who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, this causes mum to have seizures and Peter provides care when this occurs, takes responsibility of calling the ambulance and then takes care of the families’ safety and wellbeing in the home. Peter also helps with aftercare helping Mum with medication, jobs around the house shopping, Peter also helps mum with the care of his sister who has Downs Syndrome. With these caring responsibilities and worries Peter had become detached from his peers didn’t attend any groups as he didn’t enjoy that setting. School became an issue as he was attending and the times he was there he was constantly late , but also truanting, this led to Peter becoming very low in his self-esteem, confidence plummeted, he felt very alone and was having suicidal thoughts. Our 1-1 support worker became involved with Peter in the first instance, the support worker made contact with the family, arranged a home visit, and offered support to the family but most importantly 1-1 support with Peter commenced quickly which is what he was thriving to have, someone there to chat to and listen to, not feel alone and supported, to have that 1-1 support in school and having them to advocate for him as a young carer, but the biggest support for Peter was to start enjoying life again, being happy, going out with his pals enjoying his hobby football ,watching and playing. Since that support started Peter is thriving and although his caring responsibilities haven’t changed he feels happy and supported in and out of school, his attendance since mid-term break is 97%, he really enjoys his 1-1 support and through building a positive / healthy relationship with the support worker Peter attended our young carers outward-bound residential Loch Eil at Fort William which is a first for Peter as he doesn’t enjoy group work settings he had a great time made friends with other young carers from Broomhouse and other parts of Scotland and because of his positive experience on outward bound Peter now attends Broomhouse Young Carers Group.
20 young carers will report they can cope better with their caring role and feel less isolated in their caring role. We will organise a new 2 hour evening group for 20 young carers for 46 weeks of the year and we will organise a 3 day residential.
This project outcome was fully achieved and we can evidence this through our group evaluation using coaching cards, feedback from young carers who attend the group: 'My favourite possessions are my friends at Young carers because they make me happy and they are determined to encourage me in things that are hard or scary. It gives me break from caring at home and all of my responsibilities, It gives me a chance to be myself, talk to other people in similar situations as me and have new experiences. 'We are all in this together' MUSIC! One of my favourite things in life that I am grateful for…just like my Mum. However, there are happy songs and songs that made me cry (Ed Sheeran’s Divide album). There are days when I am happy being a Young Carer, I’m proud, feel like I am achieving and there are days where I find it difficult watching my mum suffering like she does'
Teresa joined the project at the age of 11 she was referred to Broomhouse Young Carers as there were concerns about her role as a young carer arising from parental substance misuse and mental well being(Dad). She was referred to us because she did not make friends easily and she worried a lot about her Mum who experienced chaotic drug use and didn’t live at home. The referrer felt that a small, friendly group would build up her self-esteem, help her to make friends and help her to share worries about the home life she had. She quickly adapted to the group and began to make friends. After completing an initial assessment with Teresa, we found that she was expected to take on a substantial amount of caring for her Dad and at times her Mum if she came to the house. She felt that caring affected her a lot, but not always in a negative way, she felt that because of caring she was doing something good, being useful, learning useful skills and feeling good about helping. However, she told us that she sometimes felt lonely, sad and was often late for or missed school because she was tired from all the things she had to do. Using the information we gathered in the initial assessment the project manager went on to give a presentation to the staff and Head Teacher at Teresa’s school to highlight young carers and the issues they face and how our project and schools can support young carers. The project manager was able to meet with a panel of professionals supporting Teresa and her family to ensure that Teresa had support in school despite her caring role. Teresa has made great progress and attends our young carers group, never missing a week. She has a solid group of friends who support each other. Our staff have been able to support her and helped her access support to get new clothes and shoes. She has also attended our summer programme and come on residential with where she had a wonderful time. Before young carers she fed back to staff that she felt lonely, shy and frustrated. After joining, she said she felt happy, confident and ecstatic! She also told us, “Without young carers group I would be nothing”.