Owen’s story ~ Carers Week 2015

Create supports the UK’s young and adult carers throughout the year with free access to high-quality creative workshops led by professional artists. For Carers Week, we’re introducing you to some of the carers that we’ve worked with and how they’ve benefited from our programmes. We’ll be publishing a new story every day so keep checking back to find out more.

Owen* is 16 years old. He cares for his elder brother who is blind and his mother who experiences depression and chronic pain. He was first identified by the carers service when he was 13. In February 2015, Create welcomed Owen onto a programme which enabled young carers from Bath and Northeast Somerset to make a short action film with a live soundtrack that they performed to the public.

“When I was younger, my mum was a district nurse. She had to leave at five in the morning but always left us a packed lunch each day. When I was 12, she developed a back problem. It progressed until the doctor told her she could no longer work. Now she is constant pain and has depression. My older brother is blind so I have to guide him, cook, clean and do other bits to help.

My sister left because she couldn’t take it anymore. There’s a lot of pressure, a lot of tension and anger.I’m only just starting to realize how tough it was for me and my brother to go through our teenage years alone. But like everything, my home life has its ups and downs and you have to make the best of what you’ve got. My advice to other young carers would be to find a place to go and talk to someone. Don’t be scared. I was nervous at first but I did it.

I like to be creative but I don’t often get opportunities like this. I can draw at home but if I wanted to go out and record a film, I wouldn’t have access to equipment like this. The difficulty working with other young carers is that we all have something which can cause tension or drama with other people. We have a lot going on in our lives but they’re all so motivated and that’s what I really enjoyed.

Being in this environment with musicians really encouraged me to try new things. Creativity helps me to think positively and I feel like playing the music with others improves my mind-set. Knowing that you’ve created something gives you a nice feeling. I felt a lot of pride when making the soundtrack for the film; pride and a feeling of accomplishment in saying, ‘Yeah, I did that.’”

*name changed to protect anonymity

If you’d like to support Create’s work with carers, text CREA28 £amount to 70070 or donate via our Virgin Money Giving page.