Posted: 02 March 2013

’Humbling and inspiring’: Celebrating the work of young carers

I helped run the Prevention Through Partnership event that took place earlier this week.  The day was about supporting young carers and their families and was co-chaired and co-run with young carers from around the country.

The day was not only co-chaired by a young person from Torbay Young Carers, but also had key presentations from the project. Hearing their views on how professionals could support young carers more effectively was both humbling and inspiring. 

I was lucky enough to help the young people deliver their presentations and although they told me they were nervous (as I would be, as well, if I was speaking to such a large group), they were superb. 

Young carers shouldn’t have to be young carers

As the day’s events proceeded, I sat in the front row and watched the children’s minister, Edward Timpson MP, and the children’s commissioner, Dr Maggie Atkinson, say some inspiring words about young carers.

Edward Timpson said: 'I'm afraid I have zero sympathy for any teacher who thinks that their responsibility extends no further than educating their pupils during school hours. Any adult who has regular contact with a child should take a keen interest in their welfare.'

Dr Maggie Atkinson said: 'being in awe of what young carers do misses the point'. It was heartening to hear that Maggie recognises that although what young carers do is incredible, they shouldn’t have to be doing it.

I felt that one of the videos we saw on the day best describes the work young carers do: 'we cook, we clean, we wash, but most of all we listen and we listen well' 

How young carers captured the day

I was lucky enough to be involved with the young people who were roving reporters during the day. Young carers from Indigo Young Carers, Off the Record Croydon, Young Carers in Focus (YCiF) Champions from Southampton Young Carers and Solihull Young Carers interviewed professionals and attendees throughout from the day. 

There was also a great flash mob that illustrated how young carers are all around us. A young person who blogged from the event wrote: ‘The flash mob was amazing! I wouldn't have had the confidence to get up and do that or I would have ended up telling somebody about it and then everyone would have known # awkward :/’

The event was a great success and I could feel the buzz in the room all day. Young carers face many adversities every day, and it's great to see so many professionals getting together to take steps to improve things for young carers

 

You can watch video interviews with Maggie Atkinson and Edward Timpson below, and read some blog posts on the event by clicking here. To find out more about the inspiring work that young carers do visit the Makewaves website