Midlothian Young Carers Service
A story by Children 1st
Midlothian Young Carers provided opportunties for young people to experience, groupwork, activities, individual support and residentials.
The young people were supported to increase their self esteem, self confidence coupled with physical, social activities that helped build resilience enabling them to be better equipped to address the difficulties in their lives.
In partnership with other organisations and agencies the staff group were able to support the Young Carers.
What Midlothian Young Carers Service did
During the last financial year there were some staffing changes within in the Midlothian Young Carers Service. Staff complement is now complete with two full time members of staff, 2 sessional staff, 1 volunteer team leader and Service Manager in place.
In organising our Groupwork Programme we ensured that the young people attending the individual group were active participants in deciding the activities that they wanted to do. As an existing and established young carers service we have a a robust and comprehensive referral process which helps us to identify and support young carers throughout Midlothian.
A mixed group of Young Carers had the opportunity to attend the Scottish Young Carers Festival for 2 nights. This festival is dedicated to offering respite to Young Carers across Scotland as well as providing a platform for Young Carers voices to be heard by prominent members of the Scottish Government, NHS, Local Authority Councils etc.
Another group of young people of primary school age had the opportunity to attend a week long break at an outdoor adventure centre in the north west of Scotland. This included 4 nights away with the service. This offered the young people a chance of respite but also opportunities to develop peer relationships with other Young Carers allowing them to build self esteem and confidence.
Throughout the summer holidays we ran a additional Groupwork Programme with 2 groups of young people. Again this was aimed at respite opportunities as well as trying new experiences aimed at building confidence, self esteem and resilience. Another Groupwork Programme running throughout the year in which we had 6 groups of 8 Young Carers. This included a range of activities including rock climbing, go karting, laser tag as well as baking, arts and crafts, movie night etc. Throughout this work we also include a variety of issue based work including mental health, issues for young carers, drugs and alcohol etc.
Whilst not providing a physical caring role it was recognised the impact emotionally of supporting both her gran and mum. C joined our Groupwork Programme and this involved meeting new people, trying new things and having time out away from her Young Carer role. C also engaged with 121 sessions with a Young Carers Worker who was able to offer additional support with both school meetings and was there as an emotional support for C.
Whilst C's role is ongoing and unlikely to change dramatically it is recognised the importance of providing those in C's position with opportunities to meet with peers, gain confidence and support in a safe environment.
Whilst attending the Groupwork Programme staff worked alongside C on a 121 basis. C was linked with SDS and Venture trust. Without the support of the service it is unlikely that C would have linked in with other agencies as he initially lacked confidence and support to take those first steps. He is now on a training programme and hopes to attend a work exchange in Holland. Children 1st Young Carers have continued to support C and are hoping to secure funding for a passport.
What Children 1st has learnedFrom this Creative Breaks Grant the project has learned that changing in staffing can have a large impact on the understanding of how and when the grant can be spent. This has led to some organisational learning around responsibility in applying for an monitoring grants.
Our Young Carers Service continues to develop an assessment and review process which is aimed at supporting the individual need within a groupwork setting. We also offer 121 support to all our young carers as and when needs/issues arise. Young Carers continue to be a hard to reach group particularly those affected by parental substance misuse. This has been an area we have prioritised in our work as we recognise the often hidden needs of CAPSM within families.