We run the East Hants Young Carers Programme, which gives respite to young people who are caring for a relative by providing the opportunity to meet with other carers, have something that is theirs to look forward to, enjoy a meal together, get support in school or go out for a trip. In 2018/19 we ran 40 monthly clubs or trips with attendance of 457, 89 school support clubs with an attendance of 328 and 62 one to one mentoring sessions
The work we are doing with the Young Carers continues to have a positive impact on their lives and those of their families. We are using the Three Crowns to monitor progress and gain evidence of the positive impact our programme is having. Most of our referrals are still coming in for the age group 8-10 year olds. Whilst this is hard to believe, it does mean that we are able to help support families earlier and be part of the early intervention team. More than anything the young carers report feeling less isolated and more supported in their roles. By having the opportunity to mix with other young carers from across East Hampshire they know they are not alone and with the right support it's ok to be a Young Carer.
Staff changes and the ending of three year funding have been some of the challenges we have faced this year. Victoria left us in May and her role was not replaced fully until September. Ben and Nawaf joined the team from September concentrating on specific age groups. Staff time and capacity became tight again with further staff changes after Christmas when Beth left us, and Mandy returned to more of an oversight role. Lack of certainty around funding meant it was not possible to recruit more staff and with new staff still in training, we focussed on supporting our young carers with the core areas of work and we encouraged young people to get involved in other projects as well. Extras such as outings and the residential trip had to be put off for the year.
As the referrals that were coming through were at the lower age bracket, the groups were adjusted, pushing the young people up, so that there was more space available in the lower age group. A volunteers group was set up to help with the referral work load. This worked well and volunteers now attend home visits with staff to add necessary support. Club nights were given a clear structure with a routine in place, to which both the young people and the volunteers responded well. Going forward we aim to raise funds so that we can run a residential again next year and put on at least three whole-family events throughout the year to make sure we have a holistic approach to supporting the young carers.
P is 15 and in the middle of doing their GCSE's, making it an important year at school for them. They are a carer for their Mum and younger sibling, who has global delay, autism and epilepsy. We have been seeing this young person on a 1-1 basis for mentoring over the last six months. Life is very stressful for them as their Mum is very unwell and often has to spend time in hospital; their younger sibling has violent outbursts due to the medication changing as they grow. Despite their school work load and the stress of home they make sure they have time to attend Young Carers; in their words, it is "their sanctuary". They come to Young Carers' club night for a break and to be among other young people in similar situations, it is here that they have made some good friends.