Carers Week 2016: Winchester & District Young Carers

Winchester & District Young Carers perform an original dance piece as part of art:space

For Carers Week 2016 Create is celebrating its amazing carer friendly partner organisations. Today we’d like to introduce you to Winchester & District Young Carers (WDYC), who we’ve worked with since 2015 on two art:space programmes.

WDYC supports young people who take on caring responsibilities for an unwell or disabled family member. It provides respite activities, support groups, one-to-one sessions and family support. A dedicated schools worker also provides weekly lunchtime drop-ins, one-to-one sessions and advocacy in all the Winchester Secondary Schools.

Create’s art:space programme, funded by British Land, provides the opportunity for young carers to develop creative thinking through art forms including film, animation and dance. The workshops enable them meet other young carers and develop social skills including teamwork and communication, gain self-confidence and self-esteem, and have fun.

A partnership with Whiteley Shopping, art:space Winchester culminated last night in a celebration of the young carers’ work, including their dance performance and the screening of a film and animations that they created earlier in the year. This enabled them to share their achievements with friends, family and the wider public, absolutely fitting during during Carers Week.

Nicky Goulder, Chief Executive of Create, said the peformance was a great success: “It was an absolute pleasure to see the young carers performing their original dance piece and sharing the surreal films they had made. They had clearly been inspired by the “Who Am I?” theme and their visits to Whiteley Shopping Centre and I loved seeing how much they enjoyed performing – and how proud they and their families were. The Deputy Mayor of Winchester presented them with certificates and thanked them not just for their inspiring performance but for the work they do in their role as carers. It was a privilege to share such a special evening with this exceptional group of young people and a fitting celebration of their talents and creativity during Carers Week.”

You can see the film and animations made by the young people below:

What’s Up Alien? A short film by Winchester & District Young Carers

Disappearance Video Games an animation by Winchester & District Young Carers

The Zebra of Doom an animation by Winchester & District Young Carers

Research conducted by Carers Trust shows that although 55% of young carers are proud of the role they fulfil, 44% feel tired and 48% feel stressed because of their responsibilities. art:space has been designed to provide young carers with a much-needed creative and social outlet, giving them vital “me time” away from their caring responsibilities.

Cara (not her real name) helps her mum care for her older sister, who has brain damage, epilepsy, learning difficulties and scoliosis. She has recently taken part in art:space and told us about her caring role and what creativity means to her:

“My sister has the learning age of a 4-6 year old although she’s actually 20, so I play with her, keep her happy, help her get changed and give her medicine. It’s difficult to get away because I spend a lot of time with my sister, otherwise I’m leaving my mum alone and she needs my help.

“As young carers, we have more responsibilities than other people our age. It’s out of the norm because we look after someone who traditionally we wouldn’t have to look after. Siblings without caring responsibilities don’t dress each other or help each other eat as they develop into young adults. It has made me grow up a lot quicker. I would say that I’ve probably been in hospital more times than other young people because of my sister’s health and that has been quite scary.

“Being creative makes me really happy. It gives me a chance to get away from the stress, even if it’s just for a little while. Create’s workshops have enabled me to have fun with my friends and learn something new together. When it’s stressful at home, I come and do this three-day workshop and it takes my mind off it.”

Anna Hutchings, Activities and Support Coordinator at WDYC, said: “We’ve worked with Create to provide the young people with three day workshops in photography, music, animation and film making. All of them have been very successful, they have given the young carers a much needed break and the chance to learn new skills whilst making friends and building confidence.

“As an organisation we have really enjoyed working with Create. All the staff and artists have been great, very committed and organised. They make working in partnership very easy as they are very flexible and communicative every step of the way. We feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with them.”

For more information on WDYC head to their website: http://www.wycp.org.uk/