Gloucestershire Young Carers has received a major national award recognising its work in supporting children who look after a family member with physical disabilities, mental ill health or substance misuses issues.
The charity was chosen from more than 400 charities nationwide to be one of 10 winners of a GSK IMPACT Award. The Award which comes with cash funding to support Gloucestershire Young Carers’ ongoing work with young carers recognises, particularly, the national impact that the countywide charity has had with its pioneering work in mental ill health.
Around one in twelve secondary school age children in the UK are caring for someone in their family, according to recent research. Gloucestershire Young Carers supports more than 900 in Gloucestershire alone ranging in age from 5 years to 24.
Having caring responsibilities at a young age can have detrimental effects on young people, both physically and mentally.
Gloucestershire Young Carers works practically and strategically with its statutory and voluntary partners to create a network of support for young carers across the county and works with young carers to ensure their needs are understood and they are supported appropriately.
The charity has established a young carers’ forum which has put the case for young carers to members of parliament and runs support and activity groups for young carers and their families.
A particular focus is given to children of parents with mental ill health, who make up almost 40 per cent of its users and good practice expertise built up over the years is now disseminated nationally and internationally. Among the groundbreaking work the charity has been involved in is the Minds, Myths and Me booklet – developed by young people for young people to provide an explanation of mental ill health in their own words. The booklet was adopted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The GSK IMPACT Awards, run in partnership with The King’s Fund and now in their seventeenth year, are seen as a mark of achievement in the healthcare charity sector. In addition to the £30,000 they receive in unrestricted funding, winning organisations are able to access training, development, and networking opportunities through a dedicated programme organised by The King’s Fund.
Gloucestershire Young Carers will be recognised, along with other award winners, at a ceremony to be held at the Science Museum in London on Thursday 15 May. An overall winner, who will receive a further £10,000 in funding, will also be announced at the ceremony.
Katie Pinnock, Head of UK Community Investment of GSK, said:
‘Gloucestershire Young Carers has put young people and their needs at the heart of their organisation from the very beginning. Their supportive and practical approach, which involves young carers in their decision-making, is unique. They very much deserve to be recognised for their brilliant work with an often hidden and vulnerable group of young people.’
Ele Semadeni, Operation Manager at Gloucestershire Young Carers, said:
“We are honoured to have received this recognition for the work we do and have been doing for 21 years. We are always mindful of the huge number of ‘hidden young carers’ in the county and we hope our direct work, our partnerships with other agencies and our ongoing awareness raising work will make a difference.
“As well as the tangible benefit we will see from the GSK funding that is attached to this award, we also value the relationship that this will launch between us and the company.”
A judging panel of health and charity experts who chose the winners includes broadcast journalist Fiona Phillips; Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Care at the Care Quality Commission; Gilly Green, Head of UK Grants at Comic Relief; Sir Christopher Gent, Chair of GSK,and Sir Chris Kelly, Chair of The King’s Fund.