Thrive Young Carers
A story by Barnardos Thrive Young Carers Group
Thrive Young Carers delivered two social group programmes (8 to 12 yrs & 13 to 18 yrs) The group provided regular respite time from their caring responsibilities and provides opportunities to take part in various activities and to develop peer relationships with other Young Carers.
What Thrive Young Carers did
We continue to deliver our groups in partnership with Inverclyde HSCP staff who over-see a range of services and supports for Young Carers in Inverclyde.
This year we have liaised with HSCP staff to ensure that processes for accessing the group is needs led and inclusive. We receive referrals through HSCP staff, schools, external agencies and our wider service. These referrals are then considered at a resource allocation group where places are allocated on a time limited basis then reviewed. This ensures that we reach as many children and young people in need as possible and the group resource is available to a high number of young people.
The service provided 24 sessions of Young Carers groups at the service base; Group (1) for 8 to 12years and Group (2) for 13 to 16 years delivered on alternate weeks. This was 16 weeks less than our original proposal; it was necessary to postpone the group in March 2020 in line with Government COVID restrictions and we recommenced the group in October 2020 in line with reduced restrictions.
The group facilitators provided a telephone check-in service for the Young Carers during this period; group facilitators checked in with YP and YP reached out to the group facilitators support as required. The Group activities and events are planned alongside young people: re regularly consult with them to ensure that the activities are meeting their social and emotional needs. Some of these activities are listed below
Digital Academy Workshop (CLD) x 14, Christmas Party, Panto outing, Cinema Trip, Drama, Planning activities Jewelry Making/Art/Games, Christmas Crafts/Games, Jewelry Making, Christmas Party/Elf performance, Christmas Party
The digital Academy workshops were delivered in partnership with Community Learning and Development. This series of workshops provided an opportunity for the children and young people to mix their own music using Midi Sequencing Soft Ware. The young people worked in small groups that facilitated the creation of friendships whilst providing a setting that was therapeutic and helped cultivate creativity.
What Barnardos Thrive Young Carers Group has learned
The project has provided insight to the wider needs of their families and enabled us to address a range of family adversity through our wider service delivery. This provides added benefits for the young carers as a reduction in stress within the family home has a positive impact on their overall well-being.
Working in partnership with the range of services and agencies within the local authority enabled the young carers to access interventions that were provided by specialist services in areas such as poor mental health.
This year due to the pandemic we have learning that contingency planning is required for group work participants to ensure there is support available regardless of circumstances; the plans that were put in place this year to provide ongoing support will be quickly utilised in relation to any future crisis situations .
How Barnardos Thrive Young Carers Group has benefitted from the funding
The work of the project has strengthened working relationship the local authority. We have worked together this year to apply a process for accessing the group that ensures the resources for young carers reaches those most in need whilst ensuring that we are inclusive of all young carers who need a service as stated in the initial section of the report. It had become apparent through this process that some of the membership of the group did not have a direct caring role although were impacted by a sibling's high level of caring need within the family. This has led to funding to deliver a pilot siblings group within the service to meet the needs of children affected by these circumstances whilst freeing up spaces for young carers with direct care responsibilities within the group.
Carers and the people they care for will have increased confidence and a reduction in stress and improved connections.
The provision of groups for young people provides an opportunity for connection and acceptance of other. Supportive relationships between members are fostered by staff to ensure that the young people have an understanding of diversity and commonality in circumstances, life choices and beliefs. Young people are able to share their experiences and gain support from each other. It is evident through observing interaction and group discussion that the members are able to share common experiences and find ways of coping. An achievement worth noting is in relation to how the supportive group setting has given a young transgender member the confidence be open and transparent about their choices and preferences .
While completing relevant paperwork with a young person who attends the young carers they explained that they were exploring their identity and wanted to be identified as male rather than female. The young person requested that the staff and young people call them by a different name while at the group and using the service. The worker then inquired how they would prefer the staff to refer to them when communicating with their family members. The young person asked that we use their birth name when we speak their family as their decision around their transition was not being accepted within the family home. The young person shared that this was a similar situation in school due to the beliefs within the establishment. During introductions to the group the staff referred to the young person by their preferred name. Thereafter group facilitators noted how the group interacted with the young person and how comfortable the young person appeared relaxed and comfortable within the group. Being able to be honest and open about choices and preferences within the group provides respite from the other situations where the young person feels compelled to hide their true identity.
Young carers will have increased opportunities to access a regular short break with other young carers and experience a range of activities/outings.
We achieved this outcome by provision of 24 groups sessions; through observation, discussion and feed back from the young carers who attend the group and their parents; it is evident that regular breaks away from their caring responsibility and the support of peer relationships and professional has helped them. The group members are enthusiastic about the range of activities provided and contribute to ideas for new activities. Parents have reported that they are relieved to about the opportunities that the group provides for their children. The groups have formed friendships that continue virtually between group sessions . (See case study)
In October 2020 a new group membership of teen young carers was created. This included 6 young people, 5 female and one male. Initially the young people were a bit apprehensive about meeting one another but after time they were comfortable and relaxed with one another. Very quickly the young people opened up to one another about their role as a Young Carer and shared details about how their everyday life and some of the challenges they face. One of the challenges the young people discussed was feeling isolated and feeling they have much more going on than other young people that others don’t always understand. One of the young people suggested that they exchange numbers to allow them to keep connected out with their time at the young carers group. The young male in the group shared that his mobile was broken at the moment and hoped that he would have one soon to allow him to be involved in the group chat and keep connected. The member of staff facilitating the group discussed this with the young person’s key worker who shared his mum hoped to get him one for his birthday in February although staff were aware that the family were living in poverty. A decision was made that it was important for the young person to have access to a device sooner, to allow him to be connected not only to the young people in the group but also to the staff and other young people out with the service. A successful application was made to the SG well-being fund administered by Barnardo’s and a phone was purchased to keep him connected to his new friends within the group. This is even more significant now that we have entered further restrictions due to COVID Pandemic.
Young Carers will have a reduction in stress, improved confidence and health and wellbeing
The outcomes has been achieved by providing young carers with regular support within the group setting and additional support with wider issues that is presenting challenges for the young carers. For example lock down was particularly challenging for Young Carers when it was necessary to postpone the group from March to October 2020. During the lock down period as an alternative to group; support staff who had been facilitating the group were assigned to provide a telephone check-in line for Young Cares and were available Monday to Friday during office hours to respond to Young Carers who telephoned for support. Many of the group participants engaged in this offer of support using the telephone to keep in touch and receive support in relation to their health and well being .
During lock down many of the group participants engaged in the offer of support using the telephone to keep in touch. Children and Young People were made aware of the SG Young Carers crisis grant to assist with wellbeing issues and at least three young peoples accessed this fund after support was offered to completed application forms. This funding enabled the Young Carers to purchase leisure wear items to take part in outside exercise, and one Young Carer who hopes to enroll on a hair dressing course purchased a hair dressing kit that enabled her spend time practicing during lockdown. Staff also supported Young people who were struggling to balance home learning with caring responsibilities; contact was made with guidance teachers to ensure that education staff were aware of the additional support that was required for the young people to complete homework assignments. This continued support for group participants during lock down, has helped them to balance their caring role and managing other pressures particularly during this difficult period.