Space for Young Carers
A story by The Broomhouse Centre trading as 'Space @ Broomhouse Hub'
Our Young Carers Project delivered a planned programme of short breaks for young carers living in the Southwest of Edinburgh, aged 5 years to 25 years. We provided a range of opportunities; support groups, one to one support and residential trips.
What Space for Young Carers did
Throughout term time we provided 5 x groups across 4 evenings each week. Throughout the holiday periods we provided day trips for 4 days a week and we arranged residential opportunities during this time (2 x 4 nights and 4 x weekends across the year).
The majority of activities took place in and around the Edinburgh Locality during term time and wider across Scotland outside term time. We facilitated a diverse range of activities for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers. During term time we have had the opportunity to explore and discover activities and resources available to us within the Edinburgh Locality.
Some of the activities have included - Bowling, Crazy Golf, Roller Skating, Laser Quest, Escape Rooms, Ghost Bus Tour, Go-Karting, Hill Walking, Swimming, Minigolf, STEM activities, Creative crafts and outlets; promoting positive mental wellbeing; Animal handling, arts, science and culture in our society which included opportunities to take part in workshops from Edinburgh International Festival and attending a performance at the festival theatre.
Out with term time we attended residentials and day trips – managing to venture further afield. We had the opportunity to visit Blair Drummond Safari Park, St Andrews Beach and Aquarium, Pittencrieff Park, Callendar park, walking Alpacas and more. Residential opportunities; Scottish Young Carers Festival, Glencoe Youth Hostel, Hebridean Pursuits and PGL Dalguise. Young carers enjoyed a range of activities; Rock Climbing Abseiling, Canyoning & Walks and a range of water sports.
Each of these examples provided our young carers the opportunity to learn more, be a child/young person first through play and switch off from caring roles. The ability to step outside of their comfort zones and push themselves to try new things can facilitate positive wellbeing, enhance confidence and provide much needed respite. 1:1 short breaks included meeting in our hub or out in the city for chats, soft drinks/lunch, shopping trips, hot chocolate and more. Young carers were identified through a diverse range of pathways. During this reporting period we accepted referrals from young carers and their families, social work, Education, NHS.
What The Broomhouse Centre trading as 'Space @ Broomhouse Hub' has learned
Planning in advance is crucial also Budgeting with the group is very beneficial so they plan their activities and don’t go over budget
Relationship building is the most important part of the job getting to know the young carers and then getting to their immediate family but also wider family.
We do a lot of networking, letting other professionals know what support we offer. Inviting families into the hub and engaging with them and providing them with information and groups that are on offer. Speaking with other providers such as venture Scotland, The outward-bound trust, and Wiston lodge.
Always have a backup, protect time so these can be dealt with and dealing with unexpected challenges or opportunities – Making sure to always have time to deal with any unexpected challenges straight away and not to disregard such challenges so that they become forgotten.
Throughout this year we have strived to be increasingly innovative in response to the requests, interests and capability of our young carers. We have developed new opportunities tailored to identified needs of our young people. We have developed a music group, working alongside Stand Up For Trad. This allowed our young people to attend weekly sessions to learn musical skills, song writing and understanding of the basics of learning a new/different instrument.
We have previously worked with Stand Up for Trad, but the previous method of short residential was not the right solution for our young people so we created a new version of this. Delivering weekly allows the tutors and young carers to build a relationship and provides them time to practise at home in between sessions. Altering this previous process and creating a new framework and target age range has been very successful – the feedback from all involved has been wonderful.
In terms of partnership working this year, we have gone from strength to strength. This has been demonstrated through the amount of partner organisations who approach us with ideas for activities and workshops. This type of external support is vital for us to be able to deliver a wide range of activities and opportunities for our young people.
How The Broomhouse Centre trading as 'Space @ Broomhouse Hub' has benefitted from the funding
One big challenge for us this year has been dramatically increased numbers of young carers we support, this has meant that we have has to split groups and move support to fortnightly in order to provide support to all of the young carers we have in service. Our grant from Creative breaks allowed us to shape and expand our services for more young carers. We embraced this with as much enthusiasm as possible, ensuring the level of support does not drop in any way. This was a challenge for some parents of our young carers who really struggled to accept the change. We took time to listen, talk to and validate these parents. We also reassured them that the level of support will not change, just the frequency. Our young carers were still enjoying their sessions, so we managed to introduce this as an exciting idea to them and provided alternative opportunities for addition youth work support within the locality.
118 Young carers will report that even through the legacy of COVID-19 they were supported to look after their own needs. 103 Cared for people will report they feel happier that that their young carers needs were being supported during the same period.
186 young carers reported improved wellbeing and 122 cared for people reported improved wellbeing knowing their carer was provided with opportunities outside their caring role. There are multiple methods used for M&E of the project as a whole. YCS’ are one of the key methods for gathering information regarding caring roles, and interests and likes/dislikes of our young carers. This helps to identify areas which require address, and issues which we can work on together. We have evaluated caring roles and projects/groups via informal conversations, feedback on activities and evaluation sessions with our young carers. For the under 12-year-old young carers we collect this feedback creatively using interactive methods which are child-centred and child-led. Staff evaluations & planning sessions along with a strong input from the Young People. Young carers plan sessions, choose activities, and look at goal setting such as looking at their futures, applying for jobs, colleges / university places.
Background AH is a young carer for her mum who has many complex needs and suffers from severe memory loss. AH is 12 years old and helps her mother with personal care, medication, housework, cooking and many other duties at home. AH has 2 older siblings, 1 who has moved out of the family home and another one who does not support the caring role. After fleeing domestic violence and moving to a different part of the city AH has really struggled to be accepted in her community. She is suffering bullying daily, both at school and in the community. AH believes this to be due to her height and her Ethnicity. Scared to leave the house AH was feeling extremely isolated and mentioned that she struggles to make friends. This has had a negative impact on her mental health and she states that she is depressed. Intervention After completing a home visit and meeting with AH and her mum, I believed attending Young Carers Group would be really beneficial for AH, as she does not take part in any activities and was very isolated staying at home all of the time. At first, she was very sceptical about attending as she believes “no one likes her” and she would be bullied there also. After a lot of reassuring her, it was agreed she would start to attend weekly activities with Young Carers at The Broomhouse Hub. AH attended her first session, she was introduced to others in the group and seemed to fit in very well, after the session she came to me and said “Thank you so much for getting me to come, I have had the best night” This session was an information session so not as much fun as taking part in an activity. Outcome In a very short space of time, I can see the confidence really growing in AH, she is always smiling, and she is making new friends weekly.
118 young carers aged between 5 and 25 years will access weekly short break support from our Young Carers services
186 young carers were provided with a range of opportunities which enabled them to enjoy life outside of their caring role. One of our biggest successes was our newer involvement with Edinburgh Science. They operate the National science program ‘Generation Science’ in Schools. Through the relationships that Space for Young Carers has with the organisation we managed to secure a place on their pilot project to deliver this out with formal education. Their outreach to the community is new and it has proved to be very exciting for our young people – allowing us to bring a fun and new STEM experience, which gets them excited about science and curious about the world around them. This has also had the added benefit of having direct learning outcomes, which tie into the curriculum for excellence. This has enabled us to share this work with school when particular young carers are struggling to function within education.
Laura (9) is a young carer who has a busy home life with a brother with intensely challenging behaviour due to Autism. Her brother is non-verbal and very vulnerable – he is unable to manage independently and cannot manage risk or regulate emotions. Laura also has a new baby brother at home. Laura has been in service for two years, utilising group support consistently. She was beginning to display challenging behaviours within group settings, at home and within School. The behaviours Laura was displaying were challenging, disrupting and unsafe. Through child planning meetings and conversing with parents, we realised that the behaviours were very indicative of autism. However, within group settings this was becoming unmanageable – despite multiple coping strategies explored over a period of 6 months. Together we chose to approach this by temporarily pausing Laura’s group support and putting focused one-to-one support in its place. Laura and carers worker spent time exploring creative solutions to emotional regulation through understanding of patterns of behaviour and emotional triggers. This time was invaluable to negotiating a solid plan of action within group settings and during this time developed a strong relationship with worker allowing Laura to feel secure. Laura made so much progress within these sessions that she was able to re-join the group and she is again enjoying this valuable respite time. This hard work that Laura put in with her worker allowed Laura to also take part in a multi activity residential, which she navigated amazingly. Laura still struggles, and is supported within education, home and at young carers but she is now managing to self-regulate and turn situations, which would previously have led to substantial meltdowns, around within a few minutes.
118 young carers aged between 5 and 25 years will access weekly short break support from our Young Carers Services.
164 young carers reported to feel better supported to sustain their caring role. There are multiple methods used for M&E of the project as a whole. Young Carers Statements are one of the key methods for gathering information regarding caring roles, and interests and likes/dislikes of our young carers. This helps to identify areas which require address, and issues which we can work on together. We have evaluated caring roles and projects/groups via informal conversations, feedback on activities and evaluation sessions with our young carers. For the under 12-year-old young carers we collect this feedback creatively using interactive methods which are child-centred and child-led. Staff evaluations & planning sessions along with a strong input from the young people. Young carers plan sessions, choose activities, and look at goal setting such as looking at their futures, applying for jobs, colleges / university places.
Annie (19) ‘Being a Young Adult Carer can often feel isolating. I don’t go out with any friends as after I left school we drifted apart and with my caring role time played a huge part in me losing touch. I attended YC / YAC to have some respite from my caring role, this is where I made friends, I have people to talk to who are in similar situations and I see them as my only friends. I have been able to do so many things and amazing opportunities I would not have been able to do if I hadn’t joined the group. I love going to the Young Adult Carers group, it’s the only time I go out to see my friends generally and allows me to be a ‘normal’ teenager for a while. Coming here has helped me broaden my horizons. Every week I know that we will be doing something fun and interesting that will give me a break from my responsibilities, and I get to come and talk to people, because sometimes it can be a while until I speak to people my own age. Having the group and the 1-1 support from the project worker helps me in me in my caring role, knowing I have somewhere to go and someone to talk to helps me sustain that.’ Project worker ‘I met Annie when she was referred to Broomhouse Young Carers by Edinburgh Young Carers, she then transitioned to Young Adult Carers group. Annie lives in the Southwest Edinburgh. Annie feels very isolated and was glad of the support we could offer her. I was able to get transport in place for Annie so she could come to the group weekly, and I worked closely with her and supported with bus fares or sometimes a taxi from her home to the hub. When I first met her, she had very little confidence and very shy. Annie didn’t feel valued in her caring role, but after she attended the group & 1-1 support, I could see some small changes she has a great sense of humour funny, and she made a solid group of friends very quickly. She has a great relationship with our sessional worker & Volunteer. Annie has attended 1 residential and been part of 3 summer programmes which she has enjoyed very much. Annie talks a lot about how she wanted to change and how she could feel better about the person she is. Annie still does experience confidence issues at times, but she gets a lot of support from the friends she has made, she is feeling more valued in her caring role and loves coming to the group.’