On 2nd October 2015, the Jack Petchey Foundation held the Crystal Awards at City Hall, London to mark the 15th Anniversary of the Jack Petchey Foundation and the milestone of having invested £100m into youth projects in London and Essex. In a special gesture to mark the occasion, £225,000 of grant awards were given on the night to 150 youth groups specially selected for their outstanding work with young people.
Thurrock Young Carers were one of the groups chosen to receive the £1500 grant. The organisation provides advice, information and support for young people who care for someone else in their family. With so many adult responsibilities, young carers often miss out on opportunities that other children have access to. They often have little to no relief from the pressures at home and fewer opportunities to socialise with others their age.
The grant funded a day of fun and excitement at Adventure Island theme park in Southend for a group of 44 young carers. Many of the young people that the organisation supports are from low income households and therefore do not get the opportunity to visit theme parks. The grant paid for transportation to the theme park and wristbands which allowed the group unlimited access on the rides and dodgems. As the trip took place in October, the group were treated to a spooky, Halloween themed evening at the adventure park that they all enjoyed.
The organisation made sure that the young carers who had never been to Adventure Island before attended, giving them a new experience and new memories to cherish. The trip provided the young people with the respite they deserve from caregiving responsibilities and also a chance to make new friends. The spooky roller-coasters were clearly the best part of the trip for the young people, with one saying “My favourite rides were The Rage, Ghost Train and Green Scream. I definitely want to come back here with my family” and “I had the best/scariest evening, I loved all the extra fright night rides.”
Many of the young people faced their fears of heights and rollercoasters with encouragement from the rest of the group. One young carer exclaimed “I’m so scared of heights but I’m so happy I finally went on The Rage!”