Tackling isolation on Young Carers Action Day 2022
A new survey of young and young adult carers by Carers Trust has revealed an alarming lack of support for young and young adult carers, and widespread feelings of anxiety and isolation.
At least a third of carers who responded to the survey said that their caring role resulted in them “always” or “usually” feeling “worried” (36%), “lonely” (33%) or “stressed” (42%), while 40% said they “never” or “not often” had someone to talk to at school about being a young carer.
There are estimated to be 800,000 young carers aged 11-16 in England alone, so when we expand this to include other age groups and the UK as a whole, it is safe to assume there are more than one million young and young adult carers across the country.
Combatting loneliness through creativity
At Create, our projects are specifically designed both to tackle isolation and loneliness, and to enable participants to build skills, express themselves and have fun.
“These projects help me not to focus on stuff that’s happening at home. It makes me feel free from all the responsibility.”Esme, A Young Carer
Over February half-term, we teamed up with Carers Trust to deliver four creative projects with young carers in England, Scotland and Wales. Working with our professional artists, the groups of young carers choreographed dances, took photographs and made music together, using this year’s Young Carers Action Day’s theme (16 March) – “taking action on isolation” – as their guide. They then came together on YCAD itself for an online showcase and celebration of their work.
Young carers from Scotland perform the dance they choreographed
Isla, a young carer from Scotland who looks after her older sister, took part in dance workshops with our professional artist Beth Coleman. “I really enjoyed being able to choreograph my own dance and teach it to someone, and coming together as one big group to learn everyone’s moves,” she said. “It felt really good when we completed the dance and did our first rehearsal, it felt like we were all in sync. Projects like these help young carers because if they’re having a really stressful day they can find their way back to earth again.”
These photos were taken by young carers from Surrey; the music was written and performed by young carers from Wales
Esme, a young carer from Surrey who looks after her mum, took part in photography workshops with our professional artist Adele Watts. “I’ve enjoyed making new friends, having fun and taking pictures,” she said. “The project made me feel happy. Being creative with other people is great because they can help you see different things. If you don’t see a cool photo to take, they can help you see it. These projects help me not to focus on stuff that’s happening at home. It makes me feel free from all the responsibility. It also helps me escape reality.”
This song was written and performed by young carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire
The Young Carers Action Day showcase
“young carers can achieve anything if they are given that vital bit of extra support.”Kirsty McHugh, CEO of Carers Trust
During the online showcase, carers from Bristol and South Gloucestershire, East Renfrewshire, Surrey, and Bridgend and West Wales shared the artwork they created with an audience of parents and guardians, staff and Trustees from Create, Carers Trust and their carer services, and other invited guests. Carers Trust CEO Kirsty McHugh and Create CEO Nicky Goulder also talked about the challenges young carers face and the power of creativity in helping reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Nicky Goulder, our Founding CEO, said: “It was moving and inspiring to see these young carers being creative together. The new statistics that Carers Trust has published this week emphasise again how difficult life can be for these incredible young people, and how important it is that we acknowledge the challenges they face and reach out to them. Creativity is such a powerful tool for bringing these young people together, helping them build skills and resilience, enjoy time for themselves to have fun, and develop relationships with other young carers that help them feel less alone.”
Kirsty McHugh, CEO of Carers Trust, said: “As our survey shows all too plainly, many young carers cope with stress and a sense of isolation because of their caring role. So it has been wonderful to work with the talented team at Create to bring together young carers for this special project. You could see just how much it meant to the young carers to get a break, enjoy each other’s company and collectively produce some beautiful pieces of art. It underlines the fact that young carers can achieve anything if they are given that vital bit of extra support.”