How many people that I know, know that I’m a carer? Probably not many, I didn’t know I could be for a long time and really struggled for different systems cogs to get in the right gear.
I’m a parent, of a young man who we like to say is a bit EXTRA, non full time table, non mainstream school and a few other things in the mix. Business in Art and illustration will come second for a few years longer, I’m doing what I need to do all in my own pace, it’s my choice. Some Carers don’t get that choice.
A carer is someone who is thrown in at the deep end. Often it’s a spouse, often it’s grown ups. It can also be young people too. There are an estimated 700,000 children and young people across the UK, some as young as five-years-old, who are caring for family members. Research* shows this is a conservative figure as many are hidden from view. Which I almost didn’t mention because it’s sad, but for me that’s what is important this week, pointing out that it’s not fair and it’s not pretty but there are good things that can be done.
The Benjamin Foundation runs regular young carers’ groups around the Norfolk. Young people need to be able to hang out and have a laugh in a safe place with out their extra adult responsibilities. These groups are people who really understand what they are going through, it allows young carers to share their concerns with and to seek help for any problems they may be having. To just be themselves.
A while ago I took part in a closed group webinar focused on adult carers tools for well being, Through the NHS wellbeing service. There are webinars to introduce Learning, Work and Wellbeing Toolkit for young adult carers like this one www.learningandwork.org.uk/events/webinar-positive-career-choices/ To help support them to achieve the same level of success in education and employment as their peers.
Have become a carer? Know you aren’t alone, you don’t have to be lonely, you can still be you. If you think you might be eligible to be a carer but no ones pointed it out, get a cuppa and look at gov.uk/carers-allowance
If you want to get involved with helping to support The Benjamin Foundation they have a verity of fund raisers, volunteer placements, or absolutely brilliant pre loved furniture stores! Or perhaps The Butterfly Treasure hunt, A fun trail around Norwich to support The Benjamin Foundation, finishing with a gourmet BBQ in the beautiful Rooftop Gardens. @benjaminfoundation.co.uk
Here are some other useful links to learn about and get involved with Carers week