Meet Laura: “The workshops have helped me learn the value of money”

artwork from Milton Keynes change matters project with young carers

change:matters is an important new programme that is educating and upskilling young carers across the UK on the topic of money and family finances.

Over three days in August 2020, Create’s professional Artist Chloe Cooper delivered visual art workshops with young carers from Milton Keynes.

One of these young carers was Laura (17) who cares for her twin siblings, both of whom are on the autism spectrum, and her mother who has fibromyalgia and arthritis.

“I learnt about the difference between a current account and a savings account. I thought they were the same.”

Laura, young carer

I care for three people in my household. I care for twins who both have autism and my mother who has fibromyalgia and arthritis. I help make sure the twins know what is going on around them and I help them with their basic needs like getting dressed and making food. I help my mum carry things around or help her with the twins if her back is hurting. I often look after the twins so she can have a quick rest. I’ve been caring for the twins since they were three; they’re 10 now, so about seven years in total.

As a young carer I feel like I’ve definitely had different experiences. There are some people who don’t know about or understand mental and physical disabilities. Compared to other people, I’ve got more of an understanding of how these disabilities could affect people and how I can help.

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Flip through this comic book made by young carers from Milton Keynes on a change:matters project

The value of money

Through the art project we’ve learnt different financial literacy words and what they mean. We created comics using those words to develop more of an understanding of how money is going to impact our lives.

I was a bit nervous meeting new people over Zoom. I’m not much of a people person, I don’t spend time in giant groups often. But after a couple of hours of getting comfortable and getting to know people, it was so wonderful! I got to enjoy myself and I felt like I made other people happy around me. Some of the kids asked me to help them draw or give them advice, and we were able to give each other feedback, which was just so fun.

Through the project I learnt about the difference between a current account and a savings account. I thought they were the same. I also learnt about the difference between a debit card and a credit card. I had no idea a credit card was borrowing money from a bank, I thought they were the exact same thing. I learnt how interest can vary and how interest works and how it can be in our favour instead of the bank’s favour or in the favour of the person you owe money to.

The workshops have helped me learn the value of money. When you’re growing up, you don’t realise how much or how little money you have, or how it works in the real world.

A community of carers

As young carers we are a community of people that help others close to us when no one else properly can. Bringing everyone together to have fun, relax and be themselves – even if it’s just for a couple of hours –  is amazing because you get to find out other peoples’ interests and you meet people you never thought you would meet in your entire life. It’s really wonderful to be part of a community of young carers.

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Another comic book made by young carers from Milton Keynes on a change:matters project

Click to read more about change:matters

change:matters is funded by The Chartered Accountants’ Livery Charity. Additional support has been provided by Network for Social Change and The Worshipful Company of World Traders.

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