Y Sort It Young Carers Project
A story by Y Sort It
We provided respite for young carers to receive a short break away from their caring role and responsibilities at home, by hosting Mini Young Carer Camps that included an overnight stay and/or day trips.
The Young Carer Mini Camps/day trips were targeted at the hardest to reach and most vulnerable young carers that Y sort It engages with via our Young Carers 1-2-1 service both existing and new referrals.
What Y Sort It Young Carers Project did
Since receiving the Creative Breaks Funding we planned a number of activities to try and engage young carers who we identified as hard to reach.
Some young carers did not feel comfortable with leaving the person they care for overnight, also many struggled with anxiety over having to interact with peers. In order to try and engage these young carers we organised day trips to WWE,Go Ape, theatre trips etc to allow them to participate in respite activities over a shorter, more manageable period of time. This allowed them to begin building positive relationships with other young carers and gave them time to relax and enjoy themselves without the worry about how things were at home.
The Blackpool trip took six young carers to visit the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Tower and the Sea life Centre. They were very lucky with the weather that weekend and even managed to spend some time on the beach.
During the lads camp the young carers participated in outdoor activities including gorge walking and kayaking. This provided new experiences, required physical activity and encouraged the young people to interact in a positive manner and develop their team building skills.
Two spa weekends were organised for a group of girls who lacked confidence and were uncomfortable participating in larger group or physical activities. It was felt that a spa setting would offer an accessible respite weekend where these young carers would feel comfortable enough to attend, relax and participate in all activities. The first spa break was only one night away, however positive feedback from those involved led us to organise a second stay for two nights away.
All costs in relation to Y sort it Young Carers Service is funded by the Big Lottery, this application is in addition to the respite provision that we are already committed to provide, in regards to management costs, training, overheads etc.
I also support mum emotionally and mum often calls me “her rock” and tells me “if it wasn't for you I wouldn't be here”. Mum likes knowing that I have the support of the young carers service because she thinks its a good opportunity for me to get out of the house and mix with people who might have a similar situation to me. I think my mum feels better in herself knowing I have support from young carers because she worries about me all the time, but I'm never sure why.
I was offered opportunities to go away on respite with smaller groups because I did not feel confident enough to go away in larger groups initially. Even when offered some smaller trips I did not always want to go away and leave my mum because I worry about her. I started off with a day trip meeting new people and then decided to go on the 2 overnight stay which was a spa trip as it was close to home and was only a small group of girls and I liked the idea of a relaxing weekend because I am not keen on outdoor activities. Also because of my own poor health I am not allowed to do many outdoor activities so this suited me.
My mum thinks I deserved the relaxing time away so I felt happier going away from my caring role that weekend. She always encourages me to go away and is proud when I get up and go to these things. Since using the Young Carers Service I feel better knowing I have a person to talk to during 1-2-1’s, I like getting to meet new people and now I feel my confidence is building up a bit, and I also like knowing I have met new people that have similar worries to me that some of my own friends don’t have.
It is also good knowing that my mum seems happier for me because she knows I am happy and now after going to things in smaller groups I like to try and come along to the group nights Y Sort It have every week if I can so I get out the house more.
I have been with the Y sort it Young Carer’s Service for two years. It has allowed me to realise I'm not alone, as well as giving me time away from my caring role. I feel that being a Young Carer has allowed me to grow as a person and build a stronger bond with my sister. My least favourite thing about being a young carer is seeing my mum and sister hurt.
Young Carers has been my main support since I became a young carer. When I attend group sessions or residentials I get to have my childhood back for a few hours or days when we are away. Tuesday night is the only night I have to myself and this is very important to me. I have become more confident within myself and find it easier to make new friends because of the confidence the group and also the workshops I have attended.
Mum thinks that going to respite is a good thing as its good for me to get away, but it can also put a bit of a strain on things because I'm leaving my mum on her own with Rachael and the dog and things. As for me, personally it gives me time to relax and have fun with people my own age. Which also helps when I go back home, because I have more patience and time for my sister and my mum.
Since joining the Young Carers Service I have monthly 1-2-1 sessions with my worker Gemma, which I find useful. I can talk to her about things I worry about and I feel supported, it just seems easier knowing she understands. I have not been along to group sessions because I always have too much to do at home. I have been offered smaller group breaks which suited me because I have had anxiety over being in larger groups with people I didn't know. Gemma was aware of this and felt it may be good to see if I'd like to try smaller trips.
I have really enjoyed both spa trips as they were close to home if I'm worried about my mum. My first trip was only for 1 night and I was really nervous because I didn't really know anyone but I'm glad I went because then I felt comfortable going for a 2 night stay as I’d met people who share similar problems as me. I really enjoyed the relaxation of the spa and being with people my age, I now feel more confident and feel as though I've came out my shell more thanks to these opportunities.
It's good getting to speak to people I've never met before. I feel like I would be happy to go on more trips with new people now if there are any in the future. I feel my relationship with mum has improved since joining the service, things feel less stressful and we are closer because I am able to vent to my worker instead of taking things out on mum, and I feel this really helps me.
Mum feels the service is great for me and my sister as it gives us a break and her a break. I think having the Young Carers Service is really great and I only wish I had known about it when I first started school in first year because the support they give is helpful and makes a difference.
What Y Sort It has learnedWe have learned that harder to reach young people are often more readily accessible when you are able to take into account the personal challenges that they face. More often than not the hard to reach Young Carers identified as having high anxiety when it came to large groups of people and new situations.
Through having the funding we were able to provide respite activities that catered to smaller groups, shorter periods of time and activities that were closer to home. This increased participation from Young Carers that didn’t previously attend any of the group activities we provide.
Young Carers are often held back by the fear of leaving the people that they care for. The thought of a two night residential trip was too much for many of them. However, by introducing them to shorter day trips, giving them the opportunity to build relationships with other young carers and staff and then gradually working up to one overnight stay many now feel able to at least consider a two night residential trip away.
In order to engage with Young Carers who have not previously used the service we have offered our older Young Carers access to more age appropriate activities with other Young Carers of a similar age. Many girls did not want to take part in physical or outdoor activities so we used the funding to help provide more suitable activities that would encourage these Young Carers to take part.