A couple of weeks ago a group of our young carers had the chance to get creative with professional animators.
The project was run by the national arts charity Create, whose programme art:space allows young carers to step away from responsibilities and have fun learning new skills. Working alongside SouthGate shopping centre in Bath, and funded by British Land, art:space helped our young carers to produce their own short animated film from 27-29 July.
The film, called ‘Ninja’, looked like great fun to make, and definitely shows off the skills the young carers learnt. It experiments with different animation techniques, and involved drawing charcoal images and then photographing them, before rubbing them out and redrawing them again for the stop-motion animation effect. To animate the abstract shapes and patterns they used computer software which resulted in an impressive multi-form film. The film is available to watch on YouTube. Continue reading Young Carers Get Creative→
Last 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!
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!
February is drawing to a close and the nation is divided on the issue of health – while some people have tried and failed to lose weight in the New Year, others have given up their favourite treats for lent. New fads to improve health seem to emerge every week, but for carers, it can be difficult to keep up.
According to the latest census, carers providing regular, unpaid care for their loved ones are twice as likely to have poorer health compared to non-carers, and almost 700,000 carers reported their health as ‘not good’. A further 35% of carers looking after someone for 20 hours or more reported having a limiting longstanding illness.
While the rest of the nation struggle with their increasing waistlines, we have a service specifically to help carers with their health. Jane and Kath (our Community Activators) have been working for three years to help carers gain confidence and lose weight, and they are continuing to improve the health and wellbeing of carers through breaks, activities and one-to-one meetings for another six months.
Kath and Jane provide personalised help and advice on what exercise might suit you best and special nutritional tips to get you healthy and happy. Their advice has helped over 500 carers and we’re grateful for all the work they’ve done so far – we can’t wait to see how many more carers they will help in the next few months!
Kath and Jane’s next project is getting people on board and ready to take part in the Carers’ Centre’s sponsored walk on Sunday 5th June, to celebrate our 20th birthday. The walk, kicking off Carers’ Week 2016, aims to raise awareness of carers and the issues they face in our community as well as funds for the centre. Kath and Jane will be running weekly walking groups in the coming months to prepare our carers for our trek through the Two Tunnels, so if you fancy raising money for the Carers Centre, please join us!!
It’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!
It seems remarkable that 2016 is already upon us and before jumping straight into new activities we wanted to quickly look back at the highlights of the past year.
2015 was an amazing year for the Carers Centre. We held two successful craft fayres which showcased amazing local talent and raised money as well as awareness for carers in BANES. In terms of fundraising we had some brilliant events, like our amazing skydive which raised over £1000 for the centre! Alongside this we held loads of summer breaks for our young carers. We went to Longleat, a water park, horse riding, and even tobogganing!
In the autumn we held our first charity concert with the Mendip Male Voice Choir and Sing Your Heart Out, as well as our annual ‘Celebrating Carers’ ceremony. These were truly uplifting events that inspired everyone who attended. Excitingly, in November we completed the purchase of our Woodlands office, allowing us to provide a permanent place for carers. Then, to finish off the year, we were one of the chosen charities for the Saltford Santa Dash – what could be better than hundreds of Santas running to raise cash for the CC?!
2016 is set to be just as amazing, with a huge range of activities, breaks and events planned for this year. We already have a whole host of activities underway at both centres, from art classes to information workshops. In the spring we have a focus group project taking place, as well as more Carers Voice meetings. We’re even planning a sponsored walk for Carers Week in June so watch this space! We will also be holding more craft fayres, loads of activities for young carers in the summer and ‘Celebrating Carers’ in the Autumn so we can reward even more carers for their unseen, amazing work.
We want to wish every carer a happy new year and we look forward to seeing you all in 2016!
Our carers were dancing on blades of glory as we took eight families to ‘Bath on Ice’; the temporary ice rink in Victoria Park this weekend.
Every carer had a different response to their first foray onto the ice. Some kids couldn’t wait to get going while others looked terrified – luckily many of them had penguins to help their balance. Meanwhile the anxious adults seemed to doubt their decision to skate, with one father looking at me as if to say “What have I let myself in for – and why have I agreed to an hour of it?!”
As we expected, there were lots of tumbles, with every carer falling over at least once. Luckily the stewards at Bath on Ice were quick to help and before long they were on their feet again. Many got up enough confidence to brave it alone and a few even managed some fancy footwork, which was great fun to watch!
When finished, our carers were delighted to go from ice back to solid ground. The children asked to go again while parents nursed newly-made bruises! However, everyone seemed to have a great time, and there were smiles all round. In our feedback forms, all families said they’d had a great time and the only downside of the trip was falling over so much!
Trips like these take a lot of planning but it’s all worth it to see families having fun and I can’t wait for our next Family Time adventure!
It was a sea of red and white in Saltford this weekend as the annual Saltford Santa Dash took place. This year saw a huge host of Santas and mini-Santas run a 5 mile fun-run through the beautiful lanes of Saltford, all to raise money for charity. This year, the proceeds were halved between Time2Share and the Carers’ Centre.
The mini-Santas set off at 10am after a wonderful welcome from Alex Lovell, presenter of BBC Points West. It was adorable and even heart-warming to see so many young people running to support charities which help other children going through a difficult time. Running a mile in December isn’t easy for anyone but the children were amazing and there were a lot of proud parents cheering them on all the way!
Next was the adult Santa race which saw a host of Santas run a figure-of-eight course through the picturesque lanes of Saltford. There was such a great atmosphere at the event, with many Santas laughing the whole way. This was helped by the fantastic marshals and helpers, who were on hand with hot drinks, light refreshments and a smile for everyone taking part.
With the money raised from the Dash, the Carers’ Centre can continue providing support, advice and breaks for unpaid carers in the BANES area. We support many carers from Saltford, so the support is even closer to home than many events. We are extremely thankful that organisers of the Dash chose to support our charity and we would like to thank every single Santa that ran – you’re amazing!
Last night was my first experience of our ‘Arts Award’ – an after-school club for young carers held in our very own Woodlands building. We run two arts award clubs on a fortnightly basis, one for children aged 5-11 and one for young adult carers aged 14-17. This gives young carers the chance to get away from their caring role and enjoy a creative space with other kids who are just like them.
First up was a manic half hour where the children worked on their art books; some drew pictures while others stuck in photos. That sounds simple enough, but with seven of them all working on different things and shouting at each other it got hectic pretty fast! Then we had a quick snack before delving into our main activity: a photo quiz.
Steve (our young carers’ officer) had taken pictures of objects around our Woodlands building and the kids had to take exactly the same pictures, trying to copy the original image as close as possible. Every single detail had to match, which was hard to achieve when half of them were bouncing around the place! It really challenged our young carers to find the objects, achieve the right angle and stand still enough to take a non-blurry pic. Finally, we had a quick run through of the pictures, chose a winner, and the kids went home happy, leaving us with the clearing up!
Despite the mayhem had such a fun time, and the children clearly got a lot out of their activities – it’s so great to put a smile on the faces of young children going through a really hard time. Can’t wait till the next one!
News and views from Bath North East Somerset Carers Centre