A chance to have fun, relax and meet other young carers  

boy in a green morph suit at young carer festival

Every year, in partnership with YMCA Fairthorne Manor, we hold a festival as part of the process of recognising, informing and consulting with young carers in order to better meet the needs of them and their families.

The festival provides the young people with the opportunity to have fun, relax, socialise and have their voices heard about issues that affect them. The outcomes from participatory consultations inform future work and are communicated to the government.

Over the years, in our Voice Zone, we have consulted with young people on a range of issues including education, health, social care and whole family support which has been hosted by Universities, NHS England and Mental Health organisations to name but a few.  The continued support from external organisations and members of parliament has ensured that the needs of young carers and their family are being recognised and that there are changes to legislation, policy and guidance concerning young carers.

These young people's participation has informed the content of two major pieces of carers legislation, guidance for teachers and the content of the Prime Minister's carers' strategy. Over 400 young carers were also involved in informing the content of our Good Childhood Inquiry.

Learn more about this year's Young Carers Festival and see the video on Include's website, youngcarer.com 

History of the Young Carers Festival

Peter Cooper of YMCA Fairthorne Manor recalled the very beginning of the Young Carers Festival:

'In December 1999, Jenny Frank of The Children's Society shared with me a dream of gathering together a group of young carers from all over the UK for a weekend's conference. It was estimated that the numbers could be as high as a hundred. Immediately I knew that something out of the ordinary was going to happen. As Jenny described the need for a fun weekend, with opportunities for young people to relax, meet others and record their views and needs, a clear picture of the event entered my mind. The dream was contagious.'

In truth the first Young Carers Festival, held in 2000, exceeded even the organisers expectations when 600 young carers arrived at YMCA Fairthorne Manor in Hampshire. Since then, The Young Carers Festivals have grown, with up to 1,800 young carers now attending every year.

'The Young Carers Festival has successfully brought together over 14,000 young carers and is now the largest gathering of young carers in the world. The Festival provides young carers the chance to add their voice on issues that are important to them and their families and a weekend where they can enjoy time for themselves. Thanks to our partners YMCA Fairthorne Manor, we now have a relaxing weekend of fun and also the opportunity to play a bigger part in decisions affecting all young carers'.  – Jenny Frank MBE - Former Young Carers Programme Manager




United Kingdom