A story by Crossroads Young Carers Cowal & Bute
Young Adult Carers decided on a trip to London. Travelling beyond the West Coast of Scotland, to meet other young adult carers, visit places of interest, London Eye, Dungeons & travel by sightseeing bus. Offering a break from caring roles, new experiences & build relationships.
What London Baby! did
In March 2019, following discussions with Young Adult Carers during several group sessions, we organised a trip for Young Adult Carers to London to meet with Camden Carers, visit the London Eye, Dungeons and travel on a London sightseeing bus. Travelling first by ferry from Dunoon to meet the train to London, the fun and laughter started before boarding the ferry, a Polaroid camera meant young adults could capture the fun throughout the journey.
Singing on the train, playing games and chatting helped to build relationships from the outset. Young adults were excited to be getting a break away, despite the lengthy journey ahead, staying in a hostel was also a first for many. Young adults learnt to negotiate various modes of transport, trains, buses & the underground! For some this trip was the first break they had from caring in sometime, one young adult had never been able to attend school residential's and so this was their first experience of leaving home without their cared for person.
By staying in a hostel, the fun could continue in the evenings, using a communal area to play card games, chat and relax. We met with young adult carers & staff from Camden Carers Centre for lunch and games for an afternoon and both groups would like to get together again. London Baby! Increased opportunities for young adults to have a break from caring, an opportunity to relax, have fun, create memories, in addition it widened their social networks, increased their confidence, self-esteem and experiences.
Our young adults (& staff) thoroughly enjoyed the trip to London, for our young adults they had a break from the caring roles, spent time together & visited tourist attractions they wanted to see. Always good to hear lots of laughter and chatter! We recognise that for some it will be the only break they have had from their caring roles for some time. As for the staff & volunteer, we enjoyed getting to know the young adults better and exploring ways to support them in the future.
What Crossroads Young Carers Cowal & Bute has learned
Having not planned a trip so far from home before, we learnt a lot as we went along! Whilst we could plan for travel and accommodation expenditure it was hard to estimate what food costs would be, so planning for that was a challenge, so we set a daily amount - it worked out well.
Through our young adults group, our young adult carers were involved from the start, where did they want to go, what did they want to see and so the excitement was building before the funding was approved, we had to manage their expectations.
Contacting Carers Centre's in London was aided with the help of Carers Trust Scotland, we made contact with 3 Carers Centres in Central London, subsequently meeting with Camden Carers Centre - who were great and would like to visit Cowal & Bute subject to funding.
Everyone using the Underground and getting on a tube at the same time was challenge initially - but everyone got the hang of it! Overall it was a great trip, lots of positive experiences and outcomes, not only for the young adult carers but for the staff team in delivering activities and residential's like this in the future.
How Crossroads Young Carers Cowal & Bute has benefitted from the funding
Through The Short Breaks Fund Creative Breaks funding programme we were able to respond to the Young Adults requests in a trip to London - London Baby! All of the young adult carers had a great time, developed friendships, reduced isolation, had opportunities for a break from caring and new experiences, created new memories, learnt to travel using various modes of transport and increased their confidence. As a project we developed our knowledge and skills in planning and budgeting for this type of residential, built relationships with a peer organisation in London and provided an opportunity for our Young Adult Carers to access a break from caring responding to the needs they identified during conversations and planning. Thank you Creative Breaks
10 Young Adults will experience a residential trip designed & planned by themselves, supported by Crossroads Young Carers Cowal & Bute
8 out of 10 Young adult carers participated in the planning of their London Baby trip alongside gaining life skills in planning and organising travel and accommodation, negotiating transport timetables and different modes of transport. We know Young Adults have since used various modes of transport to travel outside of Argyll & Bute. One young adult carer organised a trip for himself and his cared for person to visit another town in Scotland, not only continuing to develop his confidence in travel but that of his cared for person. Furthermore two Young Adult Carers who met as a result of the London Baby! trip, have since been back to visit London using the overnight bus from Glasgow! The London Baby! trip helped to develop and strengthen relationships and has meant that for some of our Young Adult Carers they feel able to travel further afield. As a project we learnt a lot from this residential,
Young Adult Carer is the main carer for their cared for person, he accompanies the cared for person shopping, dealing with letters, bills, supports emotionally and mentally rarely getting time to do things he would like to do. Support was put in place for the cared for person during the trip, however his cared for person continued to call him for support whilst he was away, this was greatly reduced compared to ‘normal’ he advised, but it still felt like a challenge for him despite support being in place for his cared for whilst he was away. Since returning his cared for person has gained confidence in undertaking tasks and will now go shopping without him. The young adult carer stills reports the London Baby! trip was the best experience of his life. This young adult carer now meets with friends once a week to play board games and his cared for person does not call him for support during this time. He continues to provide care and feels happy to do so, but London Baby! gave them both confidence.
10 Young Carers will have a break from caring and feel better supported in their caring roles
8 Young Adult Carers attended the London Baby! trip, unfortunately 2 young adults were unable to attend at short notice. Young adult carers helped to plan & organise the London Baby! trip developing life skills in travel & finding accommodation. They negotiated train, bus & underground timetables finding their way around London giving them skills to move beyond Cowal & Bute. Resulting in young adult carers feeling more confident in accessing wider opportunities & a break from caring. Developing relationships with other young adult carers in the community & with others from Camden Carers Centre. The London Baby! trip has strengthened relationships, reduced isolation through new friendships & provided an opportunity for a break from caring not only during London Baby! But in accessing future breaks - they now organise trips together. All the young adults carers enjoyed the break away, doing something their peers may find easier to access, they talk about the memories & the giggles.
Prior to the trip the Young Adult Carers did not know each other very well, during the travel to London they spent time getting to know each other, sang songs, played games and chatted. When one young adult carer received calls from his cared for person they all supported him. By the end of the residential they had all formed relationships, created memories, laughed together and had a shared experience, something they still talk about months on. Two young adult carers have since returned to London organising travel by using the overnight bus and finding accommodation, they said London Baby! gave them the confidence to explore London more and how to use the underground! Now they are saving up to go again! London Baby! provided a Young Adult Carer the opportunity for a much needed break as a full time carer, never having been able to access overnight trips, this was his first experience and although his cared for person still needed reassurance and support by phone, he was able to experience an opportunity for a break from his caring role, develop friendships and access new experiences. He talks about the trip during group activities and is looking forward to the next one. His confidence has increased and he is now accessing other opportunities for a break with friends.