17 Jun 2009

photograph of Dame Helen MirrenDear Editor

Imagine you are nine years old. Today you fixed breakfast for your younger brother and sister and your mum. You put some washing on, got your siblings ready for school, gave mum her medicine and tidied up the kitchen. Imagine that you did this all before school.

Across the UK there are more than 175,000 young carers, many of whom do not get a break all year. Caring for a loved one, while juggling school and social life, can be challenging yet immensely rewarding. The Children's Society and YMCA Fairthorne Manor celebrate the 10th Young Carers Festival this summer. The festival gives this forgotten group of children a moment to enjoy their childhood and a chance to have their voices heard.

I’d like to wish everyone a happy and sunny festival in 2009. I know for many young carers the festival is your only chance to come together, meet friends and enjoy a weekend away from everyday responsibilities. I hope this year gives you all that and much, much more.

I invite everyone to send a personal message to the young carers which will then be posted on their website in time for the festival. Visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk/youngcarers

With all good wishes

Dame Helen Mirren DBE