Building confidence and creating opportunities for young carers
Young Carers Development Trust (YCDT) supports young people who provide a significant level of care for a disabled or seriously ill family member. Children who are young carers often miss out on all sorts of opportunities, from basic education to extra-curricular activities, which can hinder their social development and their confidence to make future life choices.
Established in 2012, YCDT works with a community of Development Mentors who are inspiring role models for others from backgrounds similar to their own. By doing this, YCDT is able to provide long-term tangible assistance and resources to improve the life chances of young carers in North Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bath & North East Somerset.
As a direct result of YCDT’s support, 100% of the young carers they worked with and who have been through education, are now in employment. Given the challenges these young people face in their lives, combining their time-consuming caring roles with the dedication required to study, this is a fantastic result. Many of the beneficiaries YCDT has supported have said that without its support, they would not have achieved their GCSE’s, and for many, university might not have been a consideration.
In July 2020, YCDT applied for a £3750 grant from the Society of Merchant Venturers to identify and take on six young carers with real potential, who were unlikely to succeed without targeted support. The grant enabled YCDT to invest in equipment and textbooks, and offer academic tuition and wider learning opportunities for their young carers. With the grant secured and put into action, the young carers quickly began the process of engaging with their Development Mentors, and all say that YCDT has had a significant impact on their lives. When surveyed, all of the new young carers reported improved self-confidence and resilience, greater understanding of their future options and how they might achieve them, higher aspirations and improved access to educational and employment opportunities.
Sammy, age 18
Sammy cares for his visually impaired mother. When YCDT first started supporting him, his relationship with his mother had broken down due to the stresses of juggling both caring and studying for his GCSE’s (his schooling was suffering significantly). YCDT supported the family to access specialist counselling and helped Sammy manage his own wellbeing. As a result of YCDT’s support, Sammy is now flourishing and has grown academically as well as developing his independence and resilience.
With YCDT’s support, Sammy did really well in his A-levels and has recently started a BA degree in Business Management at the University of the West of England, something Sammy would not have considered he could achieve without YCDT. Sammy feels very strongly that the support from his Development Mentors, in particular during the various Covid lockdowns, as well as supporting his academic studies, has been a key factor in his success.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I know I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for YCDT.” – Sammy, in his fourth year of YCDT support