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!
Tomorrow is National Young Carers Awareness Day, a national event aiming to inform the UK of who young carers are and the hidden struggles they face every day. Therefore today, we want to highlight one of our brilliant young carers, who we named our Young Carer of the Year 2015.
Seventeen-year-old Joe Lomax is the main carer for his mum, who suffers with chronic back pain. Joe manages to provide this care while attending college and looking for part time work. This isn’t all: he is becoming increasingly involved in our Young Carers service, acting as a fantastic role model for other young people. Joe’s friendliness, warmth and compassion means he always welcomes new Young Carers with a smile.
During the Young Carers ‘Big Day Out’ trip in August, Joe provided hands on help for the YC team, assisting the youngest boys to build rafts and row boats, while also organising the children effectively. At our bike workshop later that summer, Joe spoke to various trustees about the work he was doing to the bikes, providing an informative and funny description of the day’s events. They were really impressed, which helped their decision to fund more Young Carers activities in the New Year.
Joe is one of our most popular Young Carers and a true example of how amazing these young people are. It was an honour to award him our Young Carer of the Year 2015 and we can’t wait to see him again this year!
Young Carers Awareness Day is on Thursday 28th January – please get involved or donate to support Young Carers like Joe. You can find more information from The Carers Trust here: https://www.carers.org/young-carers-awareness-day
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!
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