What is a Young Carer?
Whilst a number of definitions exist, Kool Carers South East Limited adopts the following definition;
“The term young carer should be taken to include children and young people under 18 who provide regular or ongoing care and emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances… a young carer becomes vulnerable when the level of care-giving and responsibility to the person in need of care becomes excessive or inappropriate for that child, risking impacting on his or her emotional or physical well-being or educational achievement and life chances.” The Children’s Society 2013
Kool Carers South East Ltd was founded in September 2017 by a now qualified social worker and an experienced youth worker. Kool Carers South East Ltd has recently been granted charity status by the Charity Commission and focuses on supporting young people, who care and look after a member of their family who are sick, disabled, who have a mental health illness, or who may be misusing drugs or alcohol.
With so many adult responsibilities, young carers often miss out on opportunities that other children/young people have to play and learn. Many struggle educationally and are often bullied for being ‘different’. Many young carers become isolated, with no relief from the responsibilities of caring and the pressures at home; as a result many young carers will often loose their childhood. Young carers are often afraid to seek help because they fear being separated from their families and taken into Local Authority care, as a result many young carers are often overlooked by society and will often fall below the professional radar.
Kool Carers South East Ltd, provides a safe, professional and comfortable environment for young carers Age 8 – 18 years, to develop personal and social relationships, whilst developing their independent life-skills and building their resilience, all of which helps to to reduce isolation and enhance emotional wellbeing. Sessions are held within the Basildon Borough and are tailored to meet the needs and age group of young carers, irrespective of the areas in which they live; all young carers are welcome. The programmes that are facilitated within the sessions are developed and designed with young carers.
Kool Carers South East Ltd supports young carers and their families in a variety of ways:
- Helping families to access the support they need and are entitled to, from local services, so that a child/young persons responsibilities can be reduced.
- Providing advice and emotional support through, one to one and group sessions.
- Liaising with schools so that teachers can more effectively support the young carers attending their schools.
- Provide opportunities for young carers to receive respite in-order to take a break from their caring responsibilities, so they can spend time with other young carers, share experiences and have fun.
One of the key focuses of these interventions is to reduce the isolation that so many young carers experience, inorder that every young carer has the opportunity to meet their full potential.
Sessions have included:
- Anti – Bullying: This session focused on exploring the causes and feelings associated with being bullied. This was achieved through role play, video footage and group discussion.
- Various Art and Craft Activities:To use art as a creative tool to explore key events throughout the year, which encouraged the exploration of feelings and views associated with culture and diversity. An example of this is when, young carers researched and participated in art and craft sessions which focussed on the history and culture of the area in which they live. This activity was successful in enabling many young carers to gain a sense of identity within their local communities.
- Weapons Awareness and Prison No Way: (Senior Group only): These sessions provided a current and realistic awareness of the issues facing young people in relation to the use and carrying of weapons and the legal consequences of criminal justice involvement.
- Planetarium Experience: These sessions were facilitated by a Dr from Hertfordshire University, who is an Astrophysicist and who provided young carers with an extensive insight into the solar system and the current global issues facing the world.
All the educational, fun and informative sessions provide young carers with the support to develop and enhance their knowledge, understanding and awareness of not only themselves, but of the society and the world in which they live.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our organisation and our work with young carers and their families that we are passionate about continuing.
Should you wish to know anything further about our work, we would welcome hearing from you.
Kool Carers South East Ltd (Kool Carers) is a registered company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales Number: 10961014.
Registered Charity Number: 1179010.
If you wish to contact us please email Contact@KoolCarers.co.uk