Gloucestershire Young Carers held its 5th Annual Twilight Briefing conference this week – co-produced by young carers for representatives from health, social care, education and emergency services.
More than 80 delegates attended the conference to learn more about how they can support young carers in the community and discover resources to help them achieve just that.
Guest speaker at the event, held at the Pavilion in Cheltenham, was Mike Raynor. Mike was a young carer himself and has authored ‘Guidebook for Young Carers’.
Mike says: “I was a young carer in quite challenging circumstances. My mum had severe mental ill health and my father died when I was young. Later in life I decided to do something to help young carers today and I put together the Guidebook for Young Carers.
“There is also a website, http://www.youngcarer.info, that contains all the content of the book so no-one has to pay to read it. The resources in the book include organisations that young carers can contact for help.
“Conferences like this are important because, firstly, they reach out to young carers. Being a young carer can often feel like an isolated role. Secondly, it gives a warts-and-all insight to people working with young carers.”
Karen James, Senior Practitioner at Gloucestershire Young Carers, was involved in facilitating the event this year. She says: “Our theme was ‘Story of My Life’. 19 young people were involved in the conference – in activities as wide-ranging as greeting delegates, participating in workshops and presenting on stage. They were also involved in ‘The Fun Factor’ – because we are emphasising the importance of fun. Fun can often be overlooked when supporting a young carer. We also encouraged the adults in the room to step out of their comfort zone by getting involved in the internet song Baby Shark.
“We hope the message has reached everyone who attended – from those in health and social care to those from education and the emergency services.”
Gloucestershire Young Carers is in contact with over 1000 young carers, children and young people who have a caring role for someone in their family who is ill, disabled, experiencing mental ill health or who is affected by substance misuse.