Dream Break for Young Carers
A story by Edinburgh Young Carers
We delivered after consulting with the young carers, 5 to 11 years old, about what would be their ‘Dream Break’ a visit to London and go to Legoland, Harry Potter World and take an open top bus trip round the City.
What Dream Break for Young Carers did
12 young carers went by train to London where they visited Legoland, Harry Potter World , went to the Lion King, took a open top bus around London, used the underground and took a water cruise.
What Edinburgh Young Carers has learned
Fully consulting and engaging the young carers in every stage of planning the residential break so that they felt total ownership of their break.
The break facilitated the young carers to:
- be supported to achieve their wishes
- See their dream trip being realised
- Leaving Scotland some for the very first time
- Feel valued/ special i.e traveling first class on the train
- Learn about planning/team collaboration
- Develop new coping skills quickly in a fast paced environment
Staff noticed how the young carers:
- Grew in confidence as the trip went on
- Adapted quickly and felt comfortable in a big busy city
- Develop their social skills as young carers of different ages interacted and made
Project planning and budgeting - after we had produced our budget and started making the bookings we managed to get significant discounts meaning that we were under budget for our grant award. Short Breaks very kindly allowed us to use this money to run some family days.
How Edinburgh Young Carers has benefitted from the funding
Previously most of our young carer breaks have been to outward bound venues which although always very successful the trip to London had a different dimension. Many of the young carers had rarely been out of Edinburgh and going to a big city they found very exciting. It definitely broadened their horizons and gave them a better understanding of how people live and travel around in a big city.
The cared for will benefit from knowing that their child is having an exciting holiday with children their own ages enabling them to gain some memorable childhood memories. Young carers will be equipped with new skills from their experiences.
12 young carers between the ages of 5 and 11 years old went for a 3 night break to London. Additionally the discount we achieved on the travel and entrance costs enabled us with short Breaks permission to use the under spend to organise family days.
Feedback from the family member cared for has been completely positive as they have really enjoyed hearing about the adventures of their son or daughter. They have been able to have different conversations which the young carers have lead by sharing their experiences. There were able to tell their family about some of the following experiences including: Train ride – The Virgin Trains staff were wonderful to our group and provided us with ample food/drinks. The young people loved travelling in style in first class which gave them room to stretch out with activities. Legoland, a few young people tried rides that they were fearful about, an example of this was the pirate ship ride. Kira, Neveah and Thomas really enjoyed going on the pony ride, which they said was like riding a real horse!! Katie really enjoyed the Lego village and Fergal had fun on the Ninjago interactive game. Tour bus, this seemed to be a favourite amongst the group, who saw lots of main sights, including Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament. Water Cruise and the young carers commented on the tour guide who gave a brilliant, humour filled tour of London from the Thames. Dinner, the highlight of this was having a welcome message projected on the screens. Staff were accommodating and friendly to our young people throughout the meal. Lion King, the young people (particularly Thomas) were transfixed on the show and costumes!! Tyler and Katie were very patient waiting for three other young people to go on one of the rides. They enjoyed some imaginary play together whilst they were waiting. Neveah and Kira really supported Tyler when he was struggling or tired. “This is the best day of my whole life:” Thomas on the train ride to London, "The Lion King was amazing the costumes where even better than the film" quote from Kira "The bus trip was great seeing were the queen lives and the lions in the square" quote from Neveah
Young carers have their horizons broadened and gain confidence through experiencing a different city, using public transport and hearing people speak with different accents which will help build their confidence in coping with new and different situations.
This outcome was achieved as the feedback from the young carers participating was all positive and they continue to talk about their time down in London. It was a great adventure for them, creating memories from their childhood which is likely to last long in to their adulthood.
On returning from the London trip we have noticed how those that participated have had a boost to their self confidence. They have become confident and more willing to give different activities ago. C is a 11-year-old girl who was referred to Edinburgh Young Carers in 2017 aged 9, C has a caring role for her older brother who has physical disability and developmental delay and requires a high level of support. C supports her parents with the care of her brother as well as supporting the family day to day. C has encountered many hardships within her family which has impacted on her confidence significantly, although C attends group regularly she struggles to engage with her peers and workers within the group. C was identified as a young person who would benefit from coming along to the London trip, C was very apprehensive about coming to London as she didn’t want to leave her family and didn’t think any of the other young people would be nice to her. The beginning of the London proved to be difficult for C as she was very anxious and shy, however as the days went on C’s confidence began to grow and she started to engage with other children in the group. The London trip allowed C to build positive relationships with her peers and realise that she can be herself around her peers, staff have observed a remarkable improvement in C’s level of engagements with her peers where she will often take the lead in activities.
Young carers will gain confidence and new independent living skills enabling them to cope with their caring duties in a positive, balanced manner, to the benefit of their own mental health and well-being.
Feedback from the young carers participating was all positive. The break enabled young carers to broaden their horizons and gain confidence in their own abilities to cope away from home and in a very different environment to what they are use to. They also made friendships which are still carrying on built on their shared experience.
D lives with his mum in a single parent household, mum has a disability and suffers from low mood and anxiety. Mum’s disability impacts on her mobility and can find movement for a long period time very tiring. D helps with chores around the house and with anything his mum needs and/or asks him to do when she is unable to. D find it difficult to make and maintain positive relationships with his peers and finds it difficult to adhere to boundaries. The London trip allowed D to gain positive experiences as the family struggle to do things together due to mums mobility and financial situation, D stated “I can’t believe we are going to Harry potter land, I’ve always wanted to go but my mum said didn’t have any money to take me”, along with building positive relationship with two other young people in the group which has resulted in them meeting up out with young carers.