I was introduced to Gloucestershire young carers through the wife of a colleague. She told me about the work that the charity does to support young carers and it sounded very interesting. I wanted to do something linked to education – I love working with young people and I genuinely find myself playing alongside them. She invited me to become a volunteer at one of the groups. I went through the checking process which is a long and time-consuming process which is a shame. I finally went to my first group and then went along every Wednesday. Eventually I ended up volunteering in two groups , working with 12 to 14 year olds and 8 year olds upwards.
I worked with the young people on graffiti art projects. We would spray paint and create some great pieces of art. I didn’t talk to the young people often about their situations although I was aware of their family situations. They mainly wanted to just have fun in the group, not focus on their caring.
I had never heard of young carers before, not when I was living in France. I worked with teenagers when I was younger. It isn’t something I want to continue as a professional – I’m thinking of setting up a farm actually. But doing the volunteering helped me to think about a different pattern for my life.
I think volunteering has many benefits: in life you have many ways to help you grow as a person and volunteering helps you grow into someone with compassion. For me it was a benefit to give my time to help people. I think sometimes people can get too focused on their own life.
One of the best things was the opportunity to work with the children – there is often a barrier between teenagers and the adult world and volunteering can help break that barrier down.