Young Carers Action Day
Wednesday 15 March marks Young Carers Action Day. Brentford Community Sports Trust has 350 young carers registered to our projects in Ealing and Hounslow. Find out more about our work with young carers across West London.
The Children’s Society estimates that there are approximately 800,000 young carers in the UK. The charity also reports that 39% of young carers said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring responsibilities.
Young Carers Action Day provides the opportunity to acknowledge and raise awareness of the importance of young carers and the massive contributions they make to their communities and families.
Transition/ Employability Group
The Transition / Employability group is for young carers aged 14 to 18 years old. The purpose of the group is to provide support to our older young carers as they transition between childhood and adulthood. We know that the transition period can be tough for young people and in particular young carers as they balance their caring role with looking for a job or further education.
We have set up various work visit trips for the young carers so they can experience different industries and think about what type of job they would like to get in the future and the steps they need to take to achieve this.
The Trust also runs workshops to support in areas such as writing a CV, interview techniques, money management and First Aid to enhance skills in other areas which may help in the transition period. One-to-one support is also available for the young carers so they can talk about any worries or stresses they may have around this.
Some of the workplaces we have visited over the last 12 months include:
- Mercer London. We visited Mercer’s London office and had the opportunity to sit in on a range of presentations across Innovation and Tech, Propositions and Diversity Equity and Inclusion. During the day participants found out about Mercer’s Academy and how they could join if they were interested in future employment.
- Hilton, Isleworth. On a visit to the hotel, our young carers received an overview of the hospitality industry, covering departments ranging from Front of House, Reception, Catering, and Bar Staff. As part of this, they were able to make a pizza in the kitchen, create mocktails with the bar staff and have a tour of the hotel.
Following these trips some of the feedback from our young carers included:
“I found it really useful and gave me an idea of what the working world will look like and what I need to do in the future. It was nice to see that the corporate world isn’t as intimidating as you would think.”
“I’ve never been into an office before and it was really cool to experience it. This has inspired me to look into a job like this.”
The Trust and Young Carers
At the Trust, we are well aware of the vital role young carers play at home and it cannot be underestimated. We spoke to several young carers that we work with to find out more about their home life and why Young Carers Action Day is important to them.
Young Carer 1:
“I care for my mum and brother. It can sometimes be really hard as my brother can come in screaming whilst I’m doing my homework. I think there needs to be more awareness around young carers so people know we exist.
“Being a young carer is a hard job and it affects our everyday life – caring is a 24-hour role. I love the young carers project with Brentford as I get to go out and see people separately from my brother. I know everyone there understands and I wish we could have more of the project.
“I also find it hard as teachers at school should be more understanding if we can’t complete our homework and have places to go within school if we feel overwhelmed.”
Young Carer 2:
“I’m 10 years old and I care for my mum. Being a young carer is stressful and scary as it is very different to other children’s lives. Other parents look after their children while we have to look after our parents.
“The young carers project is fun and I would like more of it. I love being able to meet other children and it makes a big difference knowing everyone at the group is in the same boat.
Young Carer 3:
“I love the young carers project as we get to go to places we wouldn’t get the chance to otherwise. We get to cook and I wouldn’t have the stuff to make the food at home.
“The project is helpful because everyone in the group is supportive and it feels comfortable. We are all able to come together to discuss how we feel and give each other advice. Young carers need to feel that people are there for them and that they are understood.”
Case Study: Kathryn Sobczak – Young Carers Coordinator at Brentford FC Community Sports Trust
Growing up Kathryn was a young carer looking after her mother who had various mental health issues including depression and a personality disorder, whilst also suffering from arthritis. Throughout her teenage years, Kathryn provided emotional support for her mother, looked after her younger siblings, did the shopping and other household chores as well as coping in emergencies when her mother needed to be hospitalised.
Kathryn says, “As a young carer I attended a local young carers project who were crucial in providing emotional support, giving me opportunities to have a break from my caring role and to meet other young carers. All of which made a huge difference.
As a former young carer, I understand some of the difficulties that our young carers face and am able to relate to them. I know first-hand how important young carers projects are and the difference they make to a young person in a caring role.”
After attending a young carers project for many years, Kathryn went on to do a Social Work degree with her dissertation focussing on young carers. She has now worked at the Trust for 12 years and now coordinates all of the Trust’s work with young carers.
For more information, please email Kathryn at: email@example.com