Posted on Wednesday 16th May 2012
Young Adult Carers Enjoy The Experience
Young carers who spend their time caring for their families enjoyed a little “me” time this month, thanks to an important new service from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.
They were thrilled to be given the chance to come together, enjoy new experiences and secure the new skills THEY said they wanted during the two-week programme, delivered by the Big Lottery-funded Young Adult Carers’ Support Service.
There are some 2,000 18 to 25-year-olds in Rhondda Cynon Taf who care for someone – often a parent or sibling – who have a long-term illness, disability, mental health issue or substance misuse problem.
This important, unpaid work often leaves young adults juggling the stress and burden of caring and managing a household, while also trying to do well in education, secure a job and maintain a social life.
Many end up falling out of school, becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) or being socially excluded.
Determined to provide support and ensure young adult carers can continue to thrive as individuals while also delivering their vital role as carers, the Council has launched the Young Adult Carers’ Support Service, with dedicated officer Hayley Thomas.
One of the first milestones of the service has been the varied, two-week programme run at the Council’s Miskin Project at the Glyncornel Centre, Llwynypia, which was based upon the requests and needs of the young carers themselves.
Funded by Children In Wales, the successful programme helped the twenty attendees to build confidence and self esteem and enable the young adult carers to make new friends and build support networks.
Based in the beautiful surroundings of Glyncornel and delivered by expert staff from the Council’s Miskin Project, who have also delivered dramatic and effective interventions for vulnerable and looked-after young people, the course allowed young adult carers to enjoy white water rafting, mountain biking, kayaking, caving and camping.
Key to the programme was the fact the young adult carers were still close to home, which was a reassurance for them, but also among their peers.
Those who attended said: “This is a fab course that helps with confidence,” and “I love everything and had an amazing time. I would love to do it again.”.
All those who attended the programme are set to attend an awards evening where they can come together and celebrate their achievements, including qualifications, new skills and so on.
Young Adult Carers Officer Hayley Thomas said: “The Young Adult Carers’ Support Service was launched by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council because there was a clear need for dedicated support for carers aged 18 to 25, who are too young to be considered “adult” carers and too old to be considered “young” carers.
“Many of them are looking after a relative or friend on a full-time basis and juggling this with education, employment, training, social and leisure activities and so on is simply impossible.
“Something has to give and, through no fault of their own, young adult carers often end up socially excluded or falling out of education or employment. The new service aims to support them and this programme of activities has helped them greatly.”
Tom Partridge from the Miskin Project led the training. He said: “The programme was hugely successful and our young adult carers were able to develop skills; communication, team work and important relationships with each other, as well as gaining important accreditations along the way.
“Some were nervous at times, as the new activities took them out of their comfort zones, but they soon got into it and gave 110 per cent effort, working hard to overcome their fears and their own reluctance in their ability.
“It was clear that the time spent at Glyncornel and out in the stunning natural areas visited on activities gave the young carers a chance to relax and enjoy the time they deserved.
“There was a great social aspect to the two weeks and also an important network of internal support and friendship was formed. This was only helped by the nature of the adventure activities that were undertaken as they rely so heavily on trust, team work, communication and respect for one another and the environments that you are in.
“All in all, both weeks were very enjoyable and satisfying to work on and it was a pleasure to get to know the young adults and the staff and be part of the development that took place.”
To find out more, please contact Hayley Thomas, Young Adult Carer Development Worker, at: Heddfan, Ilan Avenue, Rhydyfelin, Pontypridd, CF37 5PN. You can telephone her on 01443 668867 (ext 8703), mobile: 07887 450716 or email Hayley Thomas