Meet Oliver, a young carer from Cheshire
In October 2022, young carers from Crossroads Together in Cheshire took part in three days of drama workshops with Create’s professional artist Ben Mellor. The project enabled the young carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities, have fun, learn new skills, build relationships and express themselves.
Here you can read – and watch – what one of these young carers, Oliver (14), thought about the project, and Create’s work in general.
“I care for my little siblings and a bit for my older sibling. My mum is a very busy person. She’s a single mum. I’m usually there to help watch the kids and make sure they’re okay.
“I suppose I was about seven when I started helping out with my older brother. He has autism, and I usually speak for him in public. If he’s in an uncomfortable situation I’d help him get out of it, things like that. I guess it got more [involved] when I turned about 10. My mum had my little sister, who’s now four.
“When I’m at home doing things for my family, it builds up, you wanting to do something. And when I come to Create [projects], I get to put all my energy into it and enjoy myself.
“It just feels nice to do something creative. I get to come here for three days and just enjoy myself, create something with other people.
“It just feels nice to do something creative.”Oliver, young carer
“We’ve been doing a drama workshop, working on acting and doing a little bit of musical stuff as well. It’s been really fun so far.
“I definitely enjoyed the creative writing, that was fun. It felt so fluid to keep writing. I liked the part where Ben [Create artist] pulled out different musical machines to experiment with. It was fun to bond with everyone and make some stuff together.
“I’ve learned to work with other people a lot better. When I first came to the projects, I just wanted to do my own thing, I just wanted to be like “everyone do this’; I want to do this”. But I’ve learnt to listen to people a lot more and understand what they want.
“I came to a different music project and it had money tied into it [click to read about change:matters]. I thought: ‘I’m just going to come for the music, the money doesn’t even matter.’ But after actually coming to the project, I learned stuff about money that I didn’t already know, and I’ve started to apply some of that. I’ve built my own savings account. After I think it was the first or second day, I went home and I was like: ‘Mum, I need to open a savings account!’
“After each project I felt like I’d done something good. I felt like I’d learnt things and really enjoyed doing all of them. I felt like young carers were missing something in the summer holidays before it. Now whenever there is a summer holiday I look forward to going to another Create [project].
“Projects like these give young carers time to be themselves, to come and enjoy themselves and be away from what they do at home.”
These projects were funded by The Chartered Accountants’ Livery Charity, The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund and The Zochonis Charitable Trust.