Building bridges: Giving young carers the help they need
Having run 17 events nationally now for Prevention Through Partnership, it seems a good time to look back at what has been achieved and what we’ve seen so far, and to look forward to our big event today.
Prevention Through Partnership aims to build partnerships across organisations and agencies that prevent poor outcomes for children, young people and their families.
At our events we help a wide range of agencies across the country, including those that work with vulnerable families where a parent is experiencing mental ill-health or substance misuse and perhaps relying on a child to provide care.
Back in October 2011 we held our first event in Gloucestershire, where some wonderful young carers came along to ask the professionals who attended questions on how they intended to support young carers.
Young-carer roving reporters
We moved through Central Bedfordshire, Liverpool, Peterborough, Hillingdon, Derbyshire, Stoke-on-Trent, York, Gateshead, Hampshire, Birmingham, Barnsley, Manchester, Devon, London and West Sussex.
At many of the events, in addition to workshops and discussions, intrepid young-carer roving reporters asked difficult questions of the attendees and produced a presentation at the end of the day to display what they had learned.
One of my favourite exchanges was from York.
A young carer asked: 'What training do you provide for professionals in your area to help young carers and their families?'
A practitioner said that their carers support service trains GPs and staff about issues faced by carers and young carers. He said: 'Partnership training raises awareness and encourages thinking in new ways'.
While it’s not the most punchy exchange it really made me aware of why we were there – to remind professionals of the issues faced by the young people they work with, and for the young people to know that professionals are working for them and their families.
Being part of Prevention Through Partnership so far – we’re working to see that the programme continues – has been a rewarding experience.
Today’s event is a sort of 'greatest hits so far'. We at the Include programme will share some of the best advice we’ve gained from practitioners. We’ll also hear voices of the young people who have attended our events from across the country, as they share their ideas of how they think things should change to support them and their families and other young carers across the country.
Other highlights include speeches from the children’s minister, Ed Timpson, the children’s commissioner, Maggie Atkinson, and our chief executive, Matthew Reed.
In the afternoon we have some good practice events from around the country that we thought would be useful.