Tag Archives: young

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!

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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.

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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.

My Young Carer Story

MeeeeeeeeeLast Thursday was National Young Carers Awareness Day, which aimed to raise awareness of our amazing YCs and the unseen work they do every day. Last week we highlighted Joe Lomax, one of our fab YCs. This week, our blog takes a more personal tone, because I want to tell you my story.

My brother is funny and has the biggest smile of anyone I know. He is also severely autistic and has very limited communication skills. When I was younger, this was really hard for me, as I didn’t understand his disability or why he acts the way he does. Additionally, no one at school was in my situation, so I often felt lonely, and like I couldn’t relate to anyone.

Luckily, an amazing Young Carers service really helped me out. I was referred there by a social worker who felt I needed to be with children in a similar situation to myself. She was absolutely right, and that group helped me get out of the house and meet other children in tough circumstances.

I’ve worked at the CC for about seven months and I love my role. I run the YC Twitter account, organise this blog, and I’m currently researching support groups. However, my favourite thing about working here is helping kids with difficult home lives, just like I had at that age. Even simple things like taking them to the cinema or running an art club gives them the chance to relax and have fun. It’s always so great to put a smile on their faces and help a charity like the one that kept me going when I was their age.

National Young Carers Awareness Day – 28th Jan

Joe in our Carers Centre garden
Joe in our Carers Centre garden

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

‘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!

Growing Creativity – Our Young Carers ‘Arts Award’ Evening

The logo for the nationwide 'Arts Award' project our Young Carers are taking part in
The logo for the nationwide ‘Arts Award’ project our Young Carers are taking part in

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!

Young Carer takes time out for herself: Leeanne Roberts

Young Carer Leeanne with her dad Ray

Young carer Leeanne Roberts has been looking after her Dad, Ray, since he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Leeanne, with her mum and brother, care for Ray as a family. Through the Time for Change programme, which aims to help young adult carers to improve their health and wellbeing, Leeanne has been working with the Carers’ Centre Community Activators. “I feel like my health has improved since I started working with Jane [Harvey, Community Activator]. I have been walking a lot more and am just more active.”

The Community Activators programme looks at ways to improve carers’ health and wellbeing, offering health checks and advice about how to balance caring with an independent life. “Jane went through ways that I could improve my fitness, she got me involved with Passport to Health which allows me to go to the gym and exercise. I am feeling healthier and better about myself, my confidence is getting a bit better too. The best thing for me is it gets me out of the house, and I have someone to talk to about the things that I’m worried about.”

Leeanne is also making use of the breaks offered by the Centre: “My mum and I have put our names down to go on a relaxation break to the Thermae Spa to have a bit of a break. I think we both need it!”

Leeanne is one of the amazing Young Carers supported by the Carer’s Centre in BANES. To find out what our Young Carers get up to, follow @YoungCarersBNES on Twitter.