inspired:arts is Create’s multi-art programme for young carers. In August inspired:arts went to Newham where actor James Baldwin worked with young people from Family Action Newham and Tower Hamlets. The group wrote and performed monologues, experimenting with narrative structure and characterisation. inspired:arts enabled the young carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities, build trusting relationships with their peers and develop social skills and confidence.
Chris cares for his mother who has terminal cancer. He talked about being a carer and taking part in inspired:arts:
“My mum’s cancer is terminal and she is often at the point where she can get upset. All I can do is help her out as much as I can. Sometimes she has to go to hospital in an emergency, sometimes she isn’t feeling well. I have a lot of responsibilities but I don’t mind. I want her to know that her son is doing good in life and to make her proud.
“Projects like this are important because I need some time off. This is a really good opportunity for me to make new friends and take some time for myself. It made me feel more relaxed and know I’m in a place with other young carers where I can enjoy myself.
“It made me feel more relaxed and know I’m in a place with other young carers where I can enjoy myself.”
“For the drama project we were writing and performing monologues, which had to show two emotions, so I did happy and angry. Learning that every story has a problem and a resolution, a bad part and a good, and we had to put that into the monologue.
“I felt nervous before the performance because I was doing it in front of an audience but I felt like I could do it. I knew I had to get over the nerves and do my best. It was enjoyable once I was on stage in front of the audience. I feel like I’m showing what I can do and what I’m good at.
“It was great working with James [Create’s artist]; he’s a really good guy. Working with him is very different from being in school. He always keeps us going if we need any help and he’s full of ideas. When I’m in school there’s only one teacher for a big class, but here James has time for everyone and you learn from the other young people too.
“Doing this project I learned that I can work with new people who I don’t know. If you meet new people you have more friends, and the more you have you feel like you’re in a world where people can help you.”
* Name of young carer changed to protect anonymity