A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who helps look after someone in their family or a friend who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol. There are about 700,000 young carers in the UK, which is about one in 12 secondary aged pupils. Many young carers find it difficult to juggle their education and caring responsibilities, which in turn can cause pressure and stress. It’s important for young carers to get time to themselves, where they can forget about their responsibilities and do something fun with other people their age.
Thurrock Young Carers is an organisation which offers support and respite activities to young carers in the area. In 2016 Thurrock Young Carers used a £750 Small Grant from the Jack Petchey Foundation to fund two amazing trips for a group of young carers.
The first trip took 16 young people out for a meal before going to watch a professional football match. The group travelled together to Southend-on-Sea and enjoyed an all you can eat buffet lunch. This was a new experience for some of the young people, who had never been to an all you can eat restaurant before. One commented, “I loved the food, especially the chocolate fountain.”
After trying lots of different cuisines, the group then went on to watch Southend United play against Bradford City. It was an exciting game in which Southend United beat Bradford City 3-0, giving the group the chance to get involved in cheering and celebrating their local team’s exhilarating win! One young person said, “It was good when Southend scored as everyone was screaming and shouting” with another adding, “I thought Southend was going to lose but they won 3-0 which made the day so much better!”
For Thurrock Young Carers’ second trip, a group of 36 young carers travelled to the West End to watch the musical Wicked. All of the young people loved the singing and dancing, and also enjoyed the experience of travelling by train to central London. One of the young people said, “Wicked was so much fun- I want to see it again!”
These trips gave the young carers an opportunity to enjoy new experiences with other people their age and gave them respite from their caring roles. Some of the young people that attended are those with the highest level of caring role, which makes it even more important that they were able to take time out to enjoy themselves like other young people.
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