Frank’s Story: how music keeps young carers connected

Young carers on an online music workshop

Create Live!  is Create’s online, interactive programme developed to reach participants during the lockdown, offering a creative lifeline to the most vulnerable children and adults in isolation. Over three days in June 2020, Create’s professional musician Mike Poyser delivered music workshops with young carers from The Honeypot Children’s Charity.  

Frank (12) has been caring for his mum who has osteoporosis and sleep apnoea since he was eight. These are his reflections on the project:

“We’ve been having fun and learning how to play instruments. It has probably been the highlight of my quarantine. I liked learning the ukulele because I hadn’t touched it before and it’s nice to learn it so I can play it in the future. 

“I enjoyed meeting new people. In quarantine, I don’t normally get to see my friends. Just seeing other people and knowing they’re all other young carers made me feel like it’s not just me. It was fun working with the group. All these people I haven’t met and now I know something about them, all the little things that make that person them.

“Through the workshops, I’ve realised that music is really fun. It’s tricky at the start but when you get the hang of it, it’s nice. The final song was unexpected, how it turned out, but it was a good unexpected. I was happy with how the songs turned out.

“We’ve been having fun and learning how to play instruments. It has probably been the highlight of my quarantine.

Young carers on an online music workshop

“It was really fun working with Mike. It’s fun working with someone really high up and being taught by them. It’s always nice to learn something new. I’m not very interactive with other people usually. At school we have different friendship groups.  

“I care for my mum. She has osteoporosis and she can break her bones really easily, and my dad had to leave work to become her carer. When my dad’s out it’s my responsibility to look after my mum. Because I’ve got my phone, she’ll always text me or call me and I will drop everything and go down to help her. She gets really shaky in her knees and she’s also got sleep apnoea, which means she can’t get much sleep.

“I think I’m more grown-up than the other children because I’ve learnt more life skills. I know how to cook. If my dad’s out and I’m hungry I can make jacket potato cheese and beans or something. Other people have the comfort of their mum and dad at home teaching them along the way, but I’ve learnt it all in the space of a year.

“Create helps young carers because these opportunities would normally cost a lot of money. If there’s not much money and you only have money to pay the rent or the bills and get food for the week then you can’t do it. Create gives young carers the opportunity to do this and it’s really special and nice to do other stuff. It makes young carers happy.”

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