Coming from France, Jacques Allio had never heard of Gloucestershire Young Carers or, indeed, the issues young carers face, before he was introduced to the charity by the wife of a colleague. While working on a placement in Gloucestershire with the international company Kohler, he visited one of the charity’s support groups and was intrigued by the work the charity did for young children supporting family members with illness and disability. With a desire to get involved in something linked to education, he followed up the information and was soon invited to join two groups as a volunteer.
After going through the police checking process that is required to work with young people directly, Jacques went along every week to two groups: working with 12 to 16 year olds and a group of 8 year olds upwards. During this time, he worked on graffiti art projects with the young carers, giving them time to create pieces of art and, perhaps, take their mind off their challenges at home. These experiences helped the young carers take time out for fun and allow them to not have to talk about their family situations for a brief time.
Jacques has a strong passion for working with young people and helping them deal with their issues in the best possible way. With plans to take his profession in a new direction – perhaps starting a farm – he has also explored the idea of working with young people professionally. What is clear is that his volunteering experience with Gloucestershire Young Carers has been a great benefit to him personally.
He says: “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.
“One of the best things was the opportunity to work with the children and young people – there is often a barrier between teenagers and the adult world and volunteering can help break that barrier down.”