We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for the prestigious Children & Young People Now “Young Carers” Award.

The Young Carers Award is for the initiative that has done the most to support children, young people or young adults up to 25 who care for a family member or friend with an illness, disability, mental health problem or addiction. This includes support to meet carers’ educational, health, social and emotional needs; helping carers who have previously been unidentified by services; and working with families to reduce inappropriate levels of caring.

Create has worked with young carers since 2007, using the creative arts to enable these amazing children and young people to build skills and relationships, enhance confidence and wellbeing, and reduce isolation. Over the last few years, the need for respite for young carers has become much greater. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 58% of young carers increased their caring time by at least 10 hours a week. Following the pandemic, the cost of living crisis has disproportionately affected young carers, with 56% saying their families are ‘always’ or ‘usually’ affected by the crisis.

Young carers change matters
Young carers create change:matters artwork

We’re delighted that our work with young carers has been shortlisted for this award, including our vital change:matters programme. change:matters educates and upskills young carers across the UK about money and family finances, demystifying these topics by demonstrating key financial concepts through different creative artforms. The programme provides young and young adult carers with the space to understand and better navigate their finances and has been particularly crucial over the last year, given the current financial climate. A young carer who took part in our change:matters programme said: “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.”

Ensuring our participants have a voice is at the heart of Create’s work. In March 2023, we partnered with Carers Trust for the third year to ensure that young carers’ voices were at the heart of Young Carers Action Day. We ran creative arts projects with young carers across the four nations and celebrated with an online showcase that highlighted their artwork on the theme of “Making Time for Young Carers”.

inspired:arts Scotland visual art banners
Young carers with their campaign banners created on YCAD 2023 visual arts project in Scotland

Following our visual art project with young carers from Lambeth being featured on Channel 4’s hit show, Grayson’s Art Club, their artwork was selected to feature in the exhibition at Midlands Art Centre, propelling the voices and talents of young carers to the nation! Seeing their monumental artwork displayed in the exhibition alongside work by so many other artists including Grayson and Philippa Perry themselves made the young carers feel rightly proud.

Artwork by young carers from Lambeth on display at Grayson's Art Club: The Exhibition at MAC Birmingham, November 2022
Artwork by young carers from Lambeth on display at Grayson’s Art Club: The Exhibition at MAC Birmingham

These are just a few highlights from our work with young carers in the last year. Being shortlisted for this award to coincide with our important 20-year milestone is wonderful recognition of the commitment, passion, determination and drive of everyone who is involved in Create: our staff, our professional artists, our Trustees, our volunteers, our funding and community partners and – above all else – our young carers. The incredible children and adults who we work with continue to inspire and motivate me every day.

The Children & Young People Now Award Ceremony takes place on Thursday 23 November 2023 – we’ll let you know how we get on!

Nicky Goulder, Founding Chief Executive