Posted: 14 June 2019

Young Carers Festival: a celebration of childhood and togetherness

To celebrate Carers Week and the upcoming Young Carers Festival, we caught up with Gavin, a former young carer who now dedicates his time to building a greater understanding of young carers in society.

SUPPORTING YOUNG CARERS

Gavin started caring when he was six years old, caring for both his mum and dad. It was only when he was 13 that he was identified as a young carer, 'which is quite common for many young carers' he says. 

'I didn’t know the term young carer and I just did what I did, because that’s what you do for your family.' 

It was at the Young Carers Festival where Gavin first felt comfortable to talk about his experiences as a young carer. He now regularly takes groups of young carers to the festival and continues to raise awareness of what it is to be a young carer in today's society. 

What was your first experience like at Young Carers Festival?

It was like nothing else I’d ever seen before, I‘d never been somewhere where there were so many young carers...every single young person is in a similar situation to you as a young carer. This year will be my 17th festival!

The theme for the festival this year is 'fit for the future'. Do you think young carers worry about their future?

Definitely – I think for many young carers, they don’t know what their futures hold and they don’t always have someone to talk to about it. 

For many young carers, their focus is completely on the person that they care for, rather than what they want to do, or where they want to go. Young carers have lots of worries that other young people have – whether it’s money, or getting a job, or housing – but throw into that mix worries about the person they care for deteriorating, whether they can leave them or not, and how younger siblings might cope in the future, and it does add a lot of extra weight to their shoulders.

Why is the festival important for young carers?  

It’s an absolutely brilliant opportunity to give young carers the chance to be children and young people for that weekend and, for some young carers, it’s their only weekend break away from their caring role.

Also, you know everyone else you see is a young carer with their own story to tell. I think that’s the most powerful thing about the festival, it’s a real balance between the young person being able to have a break and opportunities, but also being able to have their voices heard as well.

What's your favourite memory of taking young carers to the festival?

The first time we took a group of young carers to the festival...they went as three separate groups and came back as one. 

'they went as three separate groups and came back as one'

You could just see them staring up at the fireworks, this group of young people from different groups, different backgrounds, different areas, but that didn’t matter to them. I think that’s one of my favourite bits of the festival, just seeing them and the difference it makes for them. 

YOUNG CARERS FESTIVAL

Watch our Young Carers Festival video:

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