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Following the recent launch of the New Deal for Carers by Ivan Lewis, the Department of Health is seeking the views of young carers(1) to help develop a national strategy for ALL carers. The Children's Society and YMCA Fairthorne Manor are hosting the eighth annual Young Carers Festival from 29 June – 1 July, attended by more than 1,700 young people who will have the chance to contribute their views.
For some of the 175,000 young carers(2) in the UK, who seldom have a break, this year’s festival gives young carers a chance to reflect on their personal achievements under the theme ‘Enjoy and Achieve’. It is also about young people meeting with other young people in similar situations – making friends and sharing experiences. According to the evidence gathered by The Children's Society’s Good Childhood Inquiry, children and young people rated friendship and family as important factors in their childhood. When asked who they were most likely to talk to about a problem, children and young people said they would go to a friend (46 per cent).
Young carers can contribute their ideas about the things they would like changed and what they would like to help support their family. Their views will help to inform the New Deal Government guidance to be launched in 2008. The Children's Society and YMCA Fairthorne Manor will also give young carers the opportunity to feed back their views on:
-how much leisure time they get, how important leisure time is in their lives and what can be done to support them;
-what is available to help them achieve their personal goals and what can be done to help them realise their full potential.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who recently met carers’ groups, carers, volunteers and others at a reception in Downing Street, said: “We, as government, need to do more to listen to and learn from carers about how we can better provide the support they need and the recognition they deserve. I am delighted that this consultation will give every carer the opportunity to be heard, and to shape the vision for caring for the next decade.”
Peter Cooper, Children’s Work Director at YMCA Fairthorne Group, said: “Like all children, it is vital that young carers are enabled to enjoy their childhood and have real opportunities for leisure while developing socially and emotionally. They need to be supported to achieve in school and their communities.”
Tim Loughton, MP and Shadow Minister for Children and Annette Brooke, Liberal Democrat MP and Shadow spokesperson for Children and Families and Liberal Democrat will be attending the festival to hear what young people have to say and encouraging them to contribute to the new Government consultation.
Notes to Editors:
Interview opportunities with young carers, Jenny Frank and Peter Cooper on request.
Anil Ranchod at The Children’s Society media office
Tel: 020 7841 4422. Mobile: 0798 567 1013
Notes to Editor:
-YMCA Fairthorne Manor, near Southampton, Hampshire, offers residential outdoor adventure and team-building programmes to schools and community groups from across the UK throughout the year. YMCA Fairthorne Manor actively engages with children and young people, providing positive experiences that will assist them into adulthood. Visit www.fairthorne.co.uk
-The Children's Society is a national charity driven by the belief that every child deserves a good childhood. To that end we provide vital help and understanding for those children who face the greatest danger, discrimination or disadvantage; children who are unable to find the support they need anywhere else. Our network of projects helps over 50,000 children and their families each year. Through our pioneering research and influential campaigning, we defend, safeguard and protect the childhood of all children. For more information visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk
1. Young carers are children and young people under 18 who look after parents and other relatives who are disabled or live with a range of debilitating conditions. Colour images from previous Young Carers Festivals are available on request.
2. According to 2001 Census – Office of National Statistics.
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