My name is Jamie, I’m 16 and I’m from Cirencester. I care for my Mum who has depression, fibromyalgia and sarcoidosis. In my spare time I am a Corporal in the Royal Air Force Air Cadets and spend my free time plane spotting and gaming, alongside caring for my Mum. I recently got involved with Gloucestershire Young Carers and just last weekend went on my first activity with them; their ‘Caring Counts’ residential weekend for young adult carers.
The Caring Counts residential is held at Abbey Home Farm near Cirencester, in which young carers are given the opportunity to take part in various workshops, activities on the farm and get fed lots of delicious organic food. The farm activities included meeting the cows, pigs and chickens, alongside pizza making, wood chopping and egg collecting. All of these things provide time to develop new friendships that will last a lifetime.
The workshop sections of the weekend helped us understand ways of coping with caring for our family member in need, strategies to help develop yourself as a person and a carer, alongside talks about mental and physical health and how caring can affect it. It helped me in learning that no matter what you’re going through, you’re never alone. There is always someone willing to help you and assist you in developing as a person. I really feel it’s helped me develop and made me feel welcomed into an amazing new group of incredible young people. There were 11 of us on the residential; all of my new friends are so inspirational and strong, even though what they go through must feel as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders.
I felt really supported during the weekend; by the friends I made, along with Jess and Hana (GYC staff) running the weekend who made me feel welcomed and accepted, and never failed to make me feel settled and were always up for a good laugh 🙂
As the weekend went on; I learnt that I wasn’t alone in how I felt, or the things I do in helping my mum. After the residential I missed everyone I’d met, as if I’d known them forever, even though we were only together for a weekend. Lots of good memories, happy people and sad goodbyes; but I can’t wait to see them again at other GYC activities.
I highly recommend the Caring Counts residential to anyone who is given the chance!