Helping young people engage better

Young Carers Say “Talk to me, not at me.”

Everyone has life goals, but perhaps they are most pertinent as we move into adulthood, people want their independence, their own house, they want to go to college or university, to find a job, have a little money in their pocket and enjoy life. But for some Young Adult Carers these goals can seem unattainable.

One such Young Adult Carer is, Eilidh Cameron, 25, from Prestwick. Eilidh has been caring for her mum since the age of 18 and it is a full time job, “I help my mum wash her hair and get dressed I make sure she takes her medication and then I start on the household chores, making the dinners and doing the washing. I don’t see it as a task I love my Mum but it is hard sometimes and I struggle to cope.”

Eilidh alongside Young Adult Carers from across South Ayrshire was in attendance at the start of a conversation with professionals from Housing, Health and Education to determine how they could make transitions more accessible. The event was supported by politicians too Councillor Hugh Hunter is a Carers Champion and Chic Brody MSP who opened the event spent the day speaking with Young Carers and listening to their opinions.

The event which marked national Young Carers Day was held at the County Buildings on 12 June. It was hosted by Unity Enterprise South Ayrshire Carers Centre and facilitated by Jacqui Mitchell and Fiona Savage from Collaborate Futures

“I thought the event was really interesting” Eilidh commented, “It was a brilliant way for us all to get talking. It helped raise awareness of Young Carers and Young Adult Carers and gave the professionals an understanding of what they can do to help.”

Jacqui Mitchell from Collaborative Futures said, “The agenda for the event was determined by the participants themselves who put forward specific topics for discussion that included themes such as training, carer’s assessments, further education support, raising awareness of carer roles, community involvement, employer awareness and support from Health and GPs”.

Lively discussion followed in smaller groups where the professionals heard from the young people directly regarding the issues they face. These important conversations were captured on templates with the participants summarizing their discussions using newspaper headlines and detailing the next steps required. Newspaper headlines included “If in doubt, give housing a shout, “Make your voice be heard” and “Talk to me not at me.”

Jacqui added, “ Common themes included the need for raising awareness of young carers and more networking however this wasn’t just a talking shop and specific actions were identified such as having a young carers champion at all levels within education, doing an employer survey to determine their level of awareness and running employer training days. The participants then signed up to take the different actions forward”.

Eilidh who starts college after the summer said “the conversation has stared now, everyone was listening, and everyone took an interest. It is important that we (Young Adult Carers) stay involved and we keep talking.”