Sadie is twelve years old. Her mum is sick, her dad’s not around, and it’s Sadie’s job to look after her mum and little brother. At home, she does almost all the housework. At school, she’s usually too tired and stressed to concentrate. She’s often picked on because her peers see that there’s something different about Sadie, and there’s no one to turn to for help. Nobody knows that Sadie’s a young carer. She’s too afraid to tell a soul.
A young carer is a child, just like any other. The only difference is that young carers are responsible for the care of at least one member of their family, though they may be as young as 5 years old themselves. These children work incredibly hard to take care of their loved ones, yet they represent a largely forgotten community, and often face enormous disadvantage as a result.
AT MYTIME, we believe that no child’s destiny should be defined by their beginning. That’s why we fight for the rights of young carers to ensure they receive the support, opportunities and friendship that every child needs and deserves. The children and young adults we help range from 5-25, and we exist to champion and empower them to reach their full personal, academic and professional potential.
MYTIME Young Carers aims to provide support for young carers wherever there is a need. We understand that caring responsibilities can have far-reaching impact on a child’s life, and we know that no two young carers’ needs are the same. That’s why we offer a range of programmes, each designed to address a different area of need and to provide a different kind of support. Our various services include:
- Our Making Memories Programmes. Through this programme we provide fun and enriching activity days, weekend retreats and online youth group sessions for young carers. These events allow young carers to take much-needed breaks from their caring responsibilities, to form a sense of identity and, most importantly of all, to meet other young carers. The young carers we work with tell us that their caring roles can often cause them to feel lonely, but the truth is that young carers belong to an enormous community – they just don’t always realise it. Our Making Memories Programme aims to create vital opportunities for young carers to build support networks and to have some fun along the way.
- Our Level Up Programme. School can be challenging for any child, but particularly for young carers. Because of their duties at home, young carers may find it difficult to complete homework, get to school on time or attend regularly. If they’re worried about a relative, they may struggle to concentrate in class and may need to contact home at frequent intervals throughout the day. It’s important that school staff are aware of a young carer’s circumstances so that they can support them to overcome these obstacles. Our Level Up Programme exists to raise awareness of young carers within their school communities, to help schools identify and more effectively support young carers and, ultimately, to ensure that young carers have everything they need to be happy and successful in their education and beyond.
- Our Employability Programme. This programme is designed to support young adult carers of ages 16-25. Some young carers may find it difficult to find their way into further education or employment if their caring responsibilities take up much of their time, or if they’ve left school without many qualifications. At MYTIME, we work with young adult carers such as these to help them identify and access a job or further education course which both interests them and fits around their caring role.
To find out more about our work or to make a donation, please contact our Fundraising Director, Penny at email@example.com.