Tag Archives: children

Sophie’s Story: ‘I believed I was a bad parent’

Sophie shares her experience as a parent carer.

“I’ve been on my own with my son since day one. I always found him hard work, right from the beginning. I thought it was because I was a rubbish parent and just not really cut out for it.

“When Kenzo was five his behaviour really deteriorated. He became verbally and physically abusive. Every single day he was hitting, kicking, spitting, biting, shouting, and screaming under tables at the adults at school.

“This lead to a couple of years of a really terrible time at the school. Weekly meetings; constant exclusions; visits from educational psychologists. The headmaster – along with multiple other professionals – told me I was a bad parent and I’d spoilt him, that it was all my fault.

I believed them – they were people who supposedly
knew what they were talking about.”

This, along with a very stressful full-time job with its own problems, and the anxiety and depression Sophie has dealt with since her teens, lead to what she now considers a breakdown.

“I couldn’t cope. I reached that point where – and I’m saying this as a proud person – I was just asking everyone and anyone for help.  And once I took that step it was like the floodgates opened. Once I had
made that change from being private and proud and ‘coping’, to realising that I just wasn’t, I recognised that it’s more important to get help than keep struggling on.”

Continue reading Sophie’s Story: ‘I believed I was a bad parent’

Guest Post: Hear from Young Carer Alex

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My name is Alex, I am 12 years old and I go to Ralph Allen School. I help to care for my 10-year-old sister, Izzy, who has developmental delays. She is both great fun and very hard work. I love her very much, but there are times when I find caring for her very difficult and stressful. I would like to tell you about my experience of the Young Carers organisation and why I think it is so incredibly important.

Many young carers don’t have access to things most kids do, either because their parent or parents are busy looking after their sibling or because their parents themselves need looking after, so are physically unable to transport them, or supervise. This can result in missing out on a lot of things, which doesn’t feel great.

My life felt a lot harder when my sister and I were younger, because she needed constant help and I felt there wasn’t enough attention to go around. Right now it’s tougher for my 8-year-old brother, Toby, than it is for me. It’s easier to entertain yourself when you are older by, say, meeting your friends in town, and I can just bus myself there and back, but when you’re younger, you rely on your parents a lot more.

In my family, our lives revolve around my younger sister. Continue reading Guest Post: Hear from Young Carer Alex

Half of infant young carers under ten are suffering broken sleep to care for family members

Young carer with her sister

Thursday 25 January is Young Carers Awareness Day (YCAD), a national day of recognition for the 700,000 young carers in the UK who provide care and support to family and friends who are disabled, ill, elderly or misuse substances.

A snapshot survey released by charity Carers Trust today reveals a high proportion of infant young carers (aged 5 – 10) surveyed by the charity are regularly suffering from broken sleep to help look after unwell family members.

There are now nearly 10,000 young carers under the age of eight in England and Wales who perform unpaid caring duties, with the most recent Census in 2011 finding a shocking 83% increase in the amount of young carers aged 5-7 since 2001 (2).

Carers Trust CEO Giles Meyer says, “The findings from our survey reveal a harsh reality for the very youngest young carers in the UK today, almost half of whom are regularly being required to get up during the night in order to look after their unwell family members.

“It is a tragic situation that children who have barely started school are losing sleep which is so significant to their development, and in the night-time, being exposed to and handling issues such as their siblings or parents’ panic attacks or epileptic seizures when they should be getting important rest.” Continue reading Half of infant young carers under ten are suffering broken sleep to care for family members

Young Carer Becca Featured on Comic Relief Red Nose Day

Becca RYoung carer Becca, 10, helps to look after her mum who has Fibromyalgia. The family, via the Carers’ Centre, were approached by the Comic Relief team who wanted to make a short film to capture what life is like for young carers — and we think they did brilliantly!

We are incredibly proud of Becca and all our young carers and hope this video can shed a little bit of light on what it’s like for young carers living in Britain today.

The film highlights the difference between Becca’s day and the day of one of her friends, Izzy, who isn’t a young carer.

As a thank you Comic Relief took Becca and her family to watch Blue Peter live!

Click here to watch Becca’s story.

The YAC Bowling Night

FOR BLOGLast month, the YC team treated some Young Adult Carers aged 17-24 (YACs) to a night of bowling at the Longwell Green complex in Bristol. Luckily, there were just enough of us to squeeze into our minibus, which was donated to us by The Wheels Project a year ago. Steve (the Young Carers Officer) was our driver for the evening and ensured the journey there was almost as fun as the actual event!

At Longwell Green, we enjoyed a drink and a quick sit down before heading off to the lanes. We started bowling and within ten minutes Cherie had established that she was the strike queen getting two strikes in her first two turns. Steve and Joe were in fierce competition; as the only two males there they felt they had something to prove!

Continue reading The YAC Bowling Night

Join us for our Sponsored Walk!

To mark the start of National Carers Week, we at BANES Carers Centre are holding our first ever sponsored walk on Sunday, 5th June. The walk starts at 11am and will take our carers through the mysteries of the Two Tunnels, all the way to the Hope and Anchor in Midford, where our walkers can reward themselves with a pub lunch.

We have 4.5 or 9 mile options so the walkers can pick a route that’s best for them. Walkers can register as individuals or a whole family – our only ask is that they try and raise £50 in sponsorship money, though is just a goal, not a requirement! “Obviously we’d love to raise as much as possible but we also want people to get involved with their community,” says Janine, our Senior Development Manager.

Continue reading Join us for our Sponsored Walk!

Our Spring Craft Fayre 2016

CCMayCraftFayre-20The sun shone on our Woodlands building this weekend as we held our Spring Craft Fayre. It was lovely enjoying the weather and our centre was bustling with so many activities going on – we had Morris dancers, face painting, kids crafts and of course some beautiful handmade gifts on offer.

To kick start the day we were treated to a dance by Somerset Morris, who not only performed for us but also treated us to a quick workshop on how to do a Morris dance. It was great to see so many people getting involved in this, including Sonia and Janine, our CEO and Senior Development Manager!

Continue reading Our Spring Craft Fayre 2016

Family Time: Bath City Farm

The beautiful view surrounding our carers as they enjoyed Meeting the Romans at Bath City Farm
The beautiful view surrounding our carers as they enjoyed Meeting the Romans at Bath City Farm

Last week, carer families had the chance to have a break when we took them to ‘Meet the Romans’ at Bath City Farm. We were blessed with amazing sunshine and a beautiful view over the rolling hills of the city.

Once we were in the farm, our carers explored what life was like in a Roman Bath. The children got to create mosaics, make sundials, eat Roman food, see real-life artefacts and even chat to a Roman Gladiator. Then our carers had a fantastic time exploring the farm and seeing all the animals. The pygmy goats were a definite favourite but I personally loved Rufus, the Gloucester Old Spot boar!

After all this sightseeing, we stopped for a spot of lunch at the fabulous Trough café. The Carers’ Centre provided each family member with a £5 food voucher to make our families lives that little bit easier. We all enjoyed looking at the Bath landscape as we ate, and all felt really lucky to be there on such a lovely day!

As always, it’s so great that we as a Centre can treat carers to a fun day out as a family. Having the chance to get out in the sunshine and do something different like meet the Romans is worth so much to carers, and it’s wonderful to know we’re helping to relieve their caring role, even if it’s just for a few hours. Bath City Farm had so many fun activities on offer, and the carers really got a lot out of the day.

Planning our Family Day activities can be challenging, but the hard work always pays off once we see the smile on the faces of a family caring full-time. We had a blast at Bath City Farm and can’t wait for the next activity – hope to see some of you there!

The Benefits of Arts and Crafts

watercoloursWhen some people hear the word ‘art’, they may think of classrooms filled with children wielding paintbrushes or pompous ‘artistes’ in front of empty canvases. But for carers, art means so much more than just paint; it’s about expressing creativity, getting out of the house, and doing something new.

A recent study shows that art can “improve well–being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones”, showing the amazing benefits of creative activities. Art has even been shown to reduce the chances of depression, stress and anxiety, because it increases positive emotions while reducing distress.

According to the study, carers who engage with our art groups may also see “improvements in flow and spontaneity, expression of grief, positive identity, and social networks”. Social networks are so crucial in fighting isolation, which so many carers struggle with due to their caring role.

At the Carers’ Centre, we are highly aware of the health benefits art therapy can provide, which is why we hold regular Art breaks for both young and adult carers. We run an arts group every other Wednesday for our Young Carers, who have the chance to explore creative mediums such as photography, clay and paint. Over half term our Young Carers enjoyed a drama and storytelling workshop; a more physical way to express fresh ideas and creativity.

For adults, our current breaks programme is filled with arty groups, where carers can explore a huge variety of different art styles and techniques. We have a watercolour painting course, willow weaving, pottery, glass blowing and patchwork all coming up in the next three months, so there is truly something for everyone.

If you’re a carer and would like to take part in these groups, or if you want to donate so we can keep supporting carers through art projects, please call our centre at 01761 431388.

‘January Trees’ – Our latest Arts Award evening

art-therapy-career2It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole week since our last Arts Award meeting with our amazing Young Carers! This fortnightly art club takes place at Woodlands and allows Young Carers aged 5-11 to explore loads of different creative mediums, including photography, clay modelling and painting.

As usual, there was a whirlwind of noise and glitter with our young carers chatting away about their Christmas while drawing what presents they got in the holidays. Once again the kids had a good laugh at my drawing skills (which even I admit are non-existent) before we had a break, where the kids enjoyed a huge game of hangman.

Then we got started on our latest project – designing a calendar which will go on sale in 2017. The kids will spent all year perfecting 12 pictures, one for each month of the year. It was so cool to see the kids enthuse about what colours they could use and design the coolest looking ‘January trees’ I’ve ever seen. The best part of this project is that next Saturday we’re taking the kids on a trip to the forest to capture some pictures of trees in January, to practice their photography skills and get some cool pictures for the calendar.

Sometimes as adults it’s easy to forget how tiny things like a game of hangman with your friends, a walk through the forest or the chance to draw freely can be so great, and it’s always lovely to see Young Carers in particular having this much fun, especially given their tough home lives. Their resilience always amazes me and makes me want to work with them even more. Can’t wait for next week’s session!