A very Happy Easter to all from Andover Young Carers. This time last year we had just finished a busy few weeks, the Easter eggs had been handed out and we were preparing for some busy lunchtime holiday drop-ins. The present uncertainty is hard for us all, for young people who are used to dashing around, seeing friends and burning off energy especially so. The staff of AYC are all still working, albeit in very different surroundings. We are doing what we can to keep in touch with the young carers via text, phone calls and posting entertaining activities and craft ideas on Facebook, but there is a limit to what we and other agencies can do. That is why we have taken this opportunity to focus on building a virtual space for young carers to interact, get support and access hundreds of different activities to entertain or distract from the pressures of their home caring responsibilities. This is no small task, and unlikely to be operational for quite some time. We think this will enhance the way we offer support, providing not just our fantastic bungalow but also a ‘virtual bungalow’ for those unable to access our site. We will update you on progress.
30th January 2020 marks the annual Young Carers Awareness day, organised nationally by Carers Trust. This day enables us to focus on the needs of young carers, and how much work there is still to do to get the support in place to minimise the impact on their lives. Looking at the statistics produced today, we can measure how well we do, and where we still need to work harder. Did you know the average number of school days missed or cut short as a result of a young person’s caring role is 48, or that two in three young carers reported to the survey that they have been bullied in school? Our work with all local schools, supporting lunchtime drop in sessions, liaising with school young carer leads, and recommending referrals to our service can help with this. We can also attend statutory meetings on their behalf when more intervention is needed, and speak on behalf of the child. Another statistic shows that 1 in 3 young carers say their caring role makes them feel stressed, and 23% felt their caring role has stopped them making friends, we can help combat this social isolation with the weekly after school clubs, holiday drop in clubs and trips that we provide.
We’ve pulled crackers, listened to awful Christmas jokes and given out amazing presents from Foodbank and Project Linus. There is so much fun and laughter in the bungalow before Christmas and we couldn’t do it without fundraisers big and small, volunteers and especially our trusty minibus drivers when the volume levels are higher than ever. We are looking for a new Young Carer Support Worker to join the team to replace (the almost irreplaceable) Johanne, if you have at least 2 years experience, and a relevant qualification email [email protected].
Applications close 6 Jan 2020
Another busy summer here at AYC comes to an end but we have all made some great memories. Our fantastic lunchtime drop in sessions have become more and more successful. The staff love welcoming the young carers in for relaxed sessions and, unlike our after school clubs, these are mixed ages so it’s great to see siblings enjoying the sessions together. Trips further afield have been made possible thanks to our fantastic volunteer drivers – we are so lucky to be supported by so many great people. Staff, volunteers and young carers alike also had a fantastic day taking part in the Andover Carnival. We were lucky enough to be chosen as one of this year’s recipients of money collected on the day. Young carers joined the parade in our minibus, and much fun was had. Thank you everyone in Andover for your support .Now, whilst parents are making sure the shoes are polished and the PE kit still fits, we are planning a great programme for this term’s after school clubs, and making sure our registers are up to date. See you all soon.
As always in March we start to see the Young Carers enjoying the garden more, although still with coats and jumpers! We are grateful that our gardening volunteers keep the garden looking good and safe for the young carers, thanks to Reg and the team from St Mary’s Church. In recent weeks we have been visited by the Test Valley Recycling team, and our college age students are well into planning their projects over the next few months, along with our new transition worker, funded by Children in Need. The Test Valley Art Society have kindly sponsored some work for our younger children, photos will be on the website over the next few months.
Here at Andover Young Carers we are all excited by the launch of our new website. Tickling Trout, who kindly donated their time and expertise, have been very patient with us, and have produced a top class product.
I am hoping to keep you all updated about our work through this blog, to talk about successes we have had, projects we have been involved with, the fantastic contribution our volunteers make, and last but not least the fun our young carers have here at the Bungalow. As a charity, we are never more proud of the work we do than when we see and hear the young carers relaxing, having fun and enjoying each others company.
To achieve this end result we rely very much on support from the local community, whether it be smaller donations through collections in Church, or through a bake sale, or through larger scale funds achieved through a lengthy grant application process. We are always grateful for every amount, whether large or small. Soon I will be able to tell you more about our new scheme to become a ‘Friend of’ Andover Young Carers, where an individual or an organisation can pledge a monthly amount, or make a one off donation to support our work. We are hoping to launch this scheme soon, keep an eye on this blog and our Facebook Page – Supporting Andover Young Carers – for more information.
December is always a busy time for us here. Club nights become that bit noisier as excitement builds for Christmas, at the same time as activities move indoors due to the cold and darker nights. We try not to use the ‘Christmas’ word too soon, but once December is here it is unavoidable. So for the next few weeks there will be glitter, cotton wool and excitement galore here. The highlight of the month is, as ever, the Christmas Party, where our younger carers get together for fun and games (generally involving the adults making a fool of themselves), and a visit from Father Christmas himself.
If you do find yourself with free time in 2018, perhaps think about whether you could volunteer some time here at Andover Young Carers, or possibly think of a fundraising idea, we always welcome visitors to the bungalow to chat ideas through.
Welcome to our new look website, which has been built for us by Tickling Trout – We are so lucky to have their support, and their patience has been much appreciated.
Here at the AYC bungalow, our lovely garden is getting more use now the weather has finally improved. The new Willow Shelter looks amazing and is starting to grow. By the end of a long cold period the young carers, volunteers and staff all look forward to opening the doors and extending the space we can use:
Talking of volunteers we really are in need of some volunteer minibus drivers to help with picking up our young carers from school in the afternoon and dropping them home after the session. This has been made even more important as our long-standing minibus driver, Gina Holton is soon to depart on maternity leave, and even now is unable to drive due to the size of her baby bump! We are always delighted to talk to potential volunteers, so do get in touch if you have some time to spare.