Last night, a colleague and I attended the Children & Young People Now awards ceremony, an evening that celebrates those working with children, young people and families across the UK. The awards are now recognised as the “Gold Standard” for this work and I’m thrilled that Create won the Young Carers award.
Selected from a shortlist of six incredible organisations, our extensive inspired:arts programme (incorporating art:space and connect:create) was chosen as “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.”
To have been recognised for our work with young carers (one of seven strands of our work across the UK that uses the creative arts to empower the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable children and adults), amongst so many other outstanding organisations and individuals, is a real privilege. Knowing that we were selected not only by a panel of 15 adult judges but also by a panel of 10 young judges – placing young people at the centre of the process – was particularly meaningful.
The event was so much fun – the vibrant tone was set from the start with an incredible performance by The Sick Year Sixes band from Hawthorns Primary School in Wokingham, which received a rapturous standing ovation. They were followed by the effervescent presentational style of Dave Benson Phillips, self-professed statesman of kids’ TV.
Young carers continually put other people’s needs first, taking on extra responsibilities that can lead to anxiety, isolation, missed opportunities and a lack of confidence. 72% report feeling isolated during the summer holidays and 68% feel more stressed or worried during their time off school. We have been committed to young carers since we launched our first project with them in 2007. Last year, we designed and delivered creative projects in 18 geographical locations that empowered 548 young carers, helping them to reduce isolation, build skills and creativity, and enhance wellbeing. As one young person told us:
“It made me feel like I was the one being cared for.”
I am so proud of everyone involved with Create who has enabled us to deliver this work. To our young carers, young carer services, artists, funders, Create staff team and Trustees – this is YOUR award.
To read about our work with young carers, click here.
Nicky Goulder, Founding Chief Executive