Carers Support Merton works with young carers who can have heavy demands placed on them at an early age. Some have parents with mental health issues, substance misuse problems or long-term illnesses. Others have siblings with learning disabilities or autism.
To give these young carers an extended period of respite from their caring roles Carers Support Merton wanted to take them on a residential trip to Alton Towers. It had been the most frequent request from young carers because the majority had never been unlike their peers. Their caring responsibilities mean they can be isolated and not get the chance to socialise outside of school.
The funding the Jack Petchey Foundation gave through a small grant contributed towards travel costs, allowed the young carers to camp on site at the theme park and gave them access to the water park.
The experience taught the young people independence skills, map reading and exposed them to new surroundings and other young people from across the country and different backgrounds.
The 10 young carers invited included several who have overcome great challenges to become high achievers. Some have won Jack Petchey Achievement Awards and one is a representative on Merton Youth Parliament. The trip was a real celebration of young carers who not only contribute to their families but also the community at large.
One of the young carers said “I learnt entertainment and fun extends beyond the screen of an iPhone and TV. It can be shared with others.”Another said “It was a thrilling new experience I otherwise wouldn’t have had without young carers.”
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“It was a thrilling new experience I otherwise wouldn’t have had without young carers”