Young carers Action Day 2022: Meet Isla
During February 2022, our professional artist Beth Coleman led dance workshops with young carers in Scotland as part of our Young Carers Action Day (YCAD) programme, which culminated in an online showcase on 16 March.
This year’s theme for YCAD is “taking action on isolation”. In a survey of young and young adult carers by Carers Trust, 33% of respondents said their caring role resulted in them either ‘always’ or ‘usually’ feeling lonely.
The Create workshops, part of our award-winning inspired:arts programme, were specifically designed to tackle these feelings of isolation by giving young carers the chance to develop their creative and social skills, build their confidence, meet other young carers, and express themselves.
Young carer Isla (13), who cares for her older sister, shared her experience.
“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.”Isla (13), Young carer
“I mostly care for my older sister who is disabled, but I also care for my grandparents and my aunt who is currently on crutches due to a broken leg. I’ve been a carer my whole life. I always grew up with my grandparents and my older sister so I’ve always just done it.
“My sister only has one vocal cord so her voice is unusual and her words tend to get mixed up. She has trouble speaking and expressing her emotions a lot. She struggles to communicate that something is wrong, or that she doesn’t feel comfortable. She also has trouble breathing, she has either a lung or a heart disease, I can’t remember. She has this tube to help her breathe. We can usually tell if she’s having trouble breathing because her eyes will actually turn a different colour, from green to blue.
Above: watch the young carers perform their dance routine for Young Carers Action Day 2022
“The workshops taught me everyone is unique”
“In today’s workshop we had to choreograph something by ourselves and then put it in one big dance so it all lines up. We all worked separately or in small groups, and once we were done with our dance, we all came together and combined it as one big dance.
“You had to piece things together to make sure they fit. It was really fun but it was also a bit awkward because some people could do things that others couldn’t, so you would have to try and do the move or switch it a bit. The workshops taught me that everyone is unique, everyone has their own styles and type of ways their body moves.
“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. It felt really good when we completed the dance and did our first rehearsal, it felt like we were all in sync and we enjoyed it.
Coming back to earth
“If you’re younger, you might have more time for creativity but now I’m older I get less time to be creative. High school can get stressful so you don’t really have time to chill out and be a bit loose.
“My lifestyle is very different to those who don’t have caring responsibilities. Sometimes at home it can get really stressful, for example if something happens before school, I could then go into school and that could affect my learning. But it doesn’t happen all the time.
“Projects like these help young carers because if they’re having a really stressful day they can find their way back to earth again and get back into that circle of where they first were.”
This project was delivered in partnership with Carers Trust.