Almost 100 young carers joined around 60 health, education and care professionals for our annual conference planned and hosted in partnership with our Young Carers Council. The young carers enjoyed workshops including art, dance and drama as well as time to discuss their caring role and needs with the professionals.
The event on Thursday 15th February was a huge success and the young carers, aged from five to 18, explored the theme ‘Not by the Book’. The theme came about as young carers have told charity staff that they feel there is no handbook and don’t want a one size fits all service, but instead want to be treated as individuals with their own talents and need for support.
The young carers spent the day in their chosen workshop that explored how caring makes them feel and the challenges they face. The workshops were:
- Dance: the young carers produced short interpretive dances;
- Drama: the young carers created and performed short sketches;
- Cartoon drawing. Participants were taught the basics of cartooning and came up with storyboards about being a carer;
- Lego robotics, which involved building robots and using programmes to make them perform set tasks;
- Nutrition and healthy eating which looked at portion sizes, sugar content in different drinks and the young carers made healthy pizzas and mini lemon cheesecakes; and
- Under 8’s, which involved art activities including them drawing themselves.
Health and Wellbeing Manager Carole Whittle, who oversees the Young Carers Service, said: “Events like this give young carers the chance to try new activities, develop their confidence and meet and make friends with other children in a caring role. It also enables them to share their views and experiences with people who plan or provide services, hopefully to secure improvements.”
Key issues raised from the workshops included that:
- The young carers want GPs and other professionals to be open and answer their questions about the condition of the person they help care for, medication, treatment and anything else they need to know to help them in their caring role – with the wishes of the adult involved; and
- Schools need to be more understanding or do more to support young carers, particularly if they need to make or receive phone calls related to their caring role.
Carole thanked Oaklands College in Welwyn Garden City for providing the venue, for free, as well as the organisations that ran the workshops and BBC Children in Need, for funding for the conference.
Rockee, part of our Young Carers Council, said: “The event went well and there was a good turnout. I enjoyed the drama workshop and it was good to share our experiences and thoughts with professionals.”
Young Carer Ella, said: “I had a really good day at the conference, it was nice to know that there are other people like me. All the staff were kind and friendly. The lego robotics was really fun because we were could make whatever we wanted. I can't wait to go to more young carers events in the future.”
If you know someone in Hertfordshire under 19 that helps care for someone elderly, ill, disabled or is affected by a person’s drug or alcohol use, then we can support them. Call 01992 58 69 69 or visit www.ycih.org