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This Young Carers Action Day, Wednesday, 16 March, 2022, Sutton’s Young Carers Ambassadors are ‘Taking Action on Isolation’, sharing their own stories and letting other Young Carers know that they are not alone.
By spotlighting their lived experience rather than just statistics, they hope they can raise awareness of the impact of caring and inspire others to take action, too.
Although COVID-19 restrictions may have eased, the after-effects of the pandemic continue for Young Carers, with many experiencing increased responsibilities at home. This has left some Young Carers feeling more isolated than ever. In a recent Carers Trust survey, over half the Young and Young Adult Carers surveyed reported taking on more caring responsibilities this last year, 20% of them caring between a staggering 20 and 49 hours a week, with 47% saying that they now felt less connected to others.
But the Ambassadors want more than just statistics to acknowledge their reality and combat these feelings of isolation. At local charity Sutton Carers Centre, Sutton’s Young Carers Service worked with the Ambassadors to create impactful resources to help identify and support more young people with caring responsibilities and amplify their voices.
Sutton’s “Young Carer Ambassadors” programme, funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation, offers a platform for Young Carers to know their rights, campaign for change, and advocate for others on both a local and national scale.
Today, the Ambassadors are launching a ‘Digital Resource’, an anthology of stories, poems, photography and artwork that all derive from the main ‘isolation’ narrative. The storytelling focuses on understanding the impact of isolation on Young Carers in their everyday lives. The Ambassadors also believe that it was important to include positive stories around finding solitude and taking time away from the noise of the world.
The Ambassadors captured the challenges of feeling alone, but recognised it can be tough taking a true break from caring. In response to this, today they also are launching a Music and Video Playlist for other Young Carers. Throughout the Playlist, you will hear some reasons why these particular songs have been chosen by Sutton’s Young Carers.
One Sutton Young Carer Ambassador, age 12, said: Sometimes we just need a bit of a lift, or want to step away from everything, enjoy our own company. The song I chose just makes me feel better.
Local dignitaries, professionals and community members in Sutton have joined the Ambassadors with a powerful mix of song choices. The Ambassadors are now asking more people to join them, inviting everyone in Sutton to submit their ‘Solitude Tunes’ for the Playlist to make it even bigger and better. Head to the Sutton Carers Centre website to help create an ongoing and lasting legacy of the day.
Shukri Mohamed, Young Carers Service Manager at Sutton Carers Centre, said: “Many Young Carers are experiencing the after-effects of the pandemic, with lingering feelings of isolation impacting their wellbeing and mental health. We are grateful that we can create a safe space for Sutton Young Carers to share their experiences with us. Through these discussions, our Young Carer Ambassadors chose to take action on isolation by creating two poignant and impactful resources. These resources have been created to not only support young people who have caring responsibilities but also to capture Young Carers' stories. Please share the ‘Taking Action on Isolation’ anthology with friends, family and colleagues to help raise awareness this Young Carers Action Day.”
Rachael MacLeod, Chief Executive of Sutton Carers Centre, said: “We are coming together with local and national partners this Young Carers Action Day to highlight the contributions that Young Carers make to their families, friends and communities - as well as the challenges that they face. We are overwhelmed by the incredible achievements of our Young Carer Ambassadors. These creative resources will have a lasting impact on so many, and we know that this is just the start of their campaign for change."
The London Borough of Sutton’s Carers’ Champions, Councillor Marlene Heron and Councillor Chris Williams, said: “Young Carers may be incredibly resilient and dedicated to helping look after their loved ones but we cannot underestimate the impact that caring can have in so many aspects of their lives.”
"We are truly proud of all our Young Carers and how our Sutton Young Carer Ambassadors are supporting other Carers with positivity and love. Sharing their knowledge and experience, they have created resources that will really help young people in similar situations to find support or simply some time for themselves. Another amazing example of how much they give to our community."