Young Carers Action Day 2021 – Protecting Young Carers’ Futures
Thirteen-year-old Lisa looks after her mother Paula who has been chronically ill since before Lisa was born. Paula relies on Lisa’s support to carry out everyday tasks ranging from helping her walk to looking after the house.
Having cared for her mum her whole life, Lisa has skills that few children her age have. She especially takes pride in her culinary skills and enjoys cooking meals for her family.
Lisa is just one of an estimated 800,000 young carers in the UK who help look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled, has a mental health condition or misuses drugs or alcohol.
Being a young carer is challenging work, and in overcoming these challenges many young carers acquire a range of skills that other children their age rarely possess. These skills are often overlooked in the wider world.
As one study reveals, young adult carers face greater struggles with finding employment compared to their peers. When they do successfully land a job, they earn £100 less per month on average. Moreover, according to a recent survey by Carers Trust, 56% of young carers say their education has suffered owing to the pandemic and 67% express worries for their future.
Young Carers Action Day 2021
This year’s Young Carers Action Day (YCAD) took place on 16 March. The theme for the day was ‘Protecting Young Carers’ Futures’, and it focused on the skills young carers learn through their role and how they can help them later in life. The day was organised by Carers Trust.
In line with this theme, we teamed up with Carers Trust and Bromley Well Young Carers in February to design and run a three-day visual art project with 17 young/young adult carers. These included Lisa and our Youth Ambassador Abi (15). The workshops were led by our artist Jenny Leonard, who guided the young carers through activities to develop artwork in preparation for YCAD.
Guided by the theme, our workshops enabled these incredible young people to celebrate their interests, achievements and special skills by combining different styles of graphic art to build unique visual CVs. These were showcased at an event on YCAD itself attended by the young carers, their families, our funders and Patrons, and staff/Trustees from Create, Carers Trust and Bromley Well.
“The young carers were able to reflect on the incredible skills that they have developed, and how these will be able to help them into the future.”Create CEO Nicky Goulder
We have designed the Showcase to celebrate young carers’ skills. Sharing their artwork enables them to celebrate their achievements and build their confidence. As one young carer expressed after the project: “I am looking forward to sharing my work with my family because they will be proud of me.”
Abi reflected on the importance of creativity in her life: “Without creativity I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. Being creative makes me feel really accomplished, proud and happy. It also lets me dream.”
Reflecting on the project, our Chief Executive Nicky Goulder said: “I am truly inspired by the work created by these young/young adult carers. It is important to recognise the value of young carers’ skills, and the creative arts are such a powerful way of getting the message out in a captivating and engaging way. By taking part in this special project, they also connected with other young carers, helping to build support networks and reduce isolation; developed new skills; and grew in their sense of self-worth. Perhaps most importantly for this project, they were also able to reflect on the incredible skills that they have developed through being young carers and how these will be able to help them into the future.”
See the impactful visual CVs created by the young carers below.
Here’s a collection of some of the outputs from other activities carried out during the workshop.