Young Carers are a remarkable group of young people who are often under the radar of society and provide care and support for their parents and/or siblings when long term illness or disability impact on a family. Aged from just five years old to 18 years, they help in the home, go to the shops and provide selfless care for their family.
Support for the Young Carers is delivered locally by Barnardo’s. They have some 200 children on their books at any one time and receive 60 new referrals every quarter. This is just the tip of the iceberg however. Many young carers go unrecognised and as a consequence, they miss out on the invaluable support offered by Barnardo’s.
Unfortunately there is no budget available for leisure activities. Such events are critical to Young Carers developing friendships and networks with children like themselves. When funds are available, Barnardo’s are able to organise events such as a trip to a pantomime or other theatre, as well as outdoor activities.
Over the Christmas period Cliff Jones, the master of Preston Guild Lodge No 4408, visited Barnardo’s and met with Service Manager Jenny and Team Manager Hayley to gain a better understanding of their work. At the same time Cliff handed over a cheque for £400 which is specifically earmarked for leisure activities.
Whilst in the building Cliff was introduced to a Young Carer from Preston called Harry. Harry cares for his younger sister while his parents focus on two sisters with special needs. He was a wonderful ambassador for the Young Carers; a very intelligent young man with a dedication to his family whilst still having an eye to his own future development. He certainly appreciated the support Jenny and Hayley offered. He spoke warmly about his Young Carer friends and the networks they have created. He looked forward to social events. During the discussion, he learned about a photography group within the Young Carers and immediately signed up for that.
Cliff came away humbled by what he had learned. The lodge hopes the Young Carers enjoy events created as a result of their and others’ donations. This is a very worthwhile cause to support. Most of all, the lodge members hope they can have some fun.