Ahead of Young Carers Awareness Day on Thursday 30 January, Ealing Councillors Simon Woodroofe and Councillor Hitesh Tailor took part in a young carers’ session last week. The Councillors, who sit on the Leisure Scrutiny panel, tried their hand at pizza making and table tennis with the young carers at Horizon’s Community Centre in Hanwell.
The Ealing Young Carers project, commissioned by Ealing Council, is run by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and offers respite to young people living in Ealing who are looking after a relative in a caring capacity. With 700,000 young carers living in the UK, the project gives carers aged between eight and 18 somewhere to socialise, learn new skills and gain in confidence. Along with one-one mentoring, the project offers a wide range of activities including, after-school homework clubs; lunchtime clubs; fortnightly youth clubs; fortnightly swimming clubs and day trips.
“It was good to see first-hand the young carers activities in Hanwell,” Cllr Hitesh Tailor said. “The young people enjoyed the time spent there and it offered them an opportunity to relax with friends without any worries. A parent I spoke to on the night, explained how she felt the sessions had improved the general wellbeing of her young son.”
Cllr Simon Woodroofe agreed. He said: “I certainly had a very positive impression of the activities in the centre.”
Since the project has been commissioned to the Trust, participation has gone from 25 young carers to nearly 200.The project’s success is credited to the programme coordinator – Kathryn Sobczak – who was a former young carer herself.
Kathryn said: “Too often, young carers can feel socially isolated and invisible. It took me a long time to realise I was a young carer. If I had known that other people were going through the same thing, it would have reassured me that I wasn’t alone. Whether your caring for parents siblings, family members we all do the same job, it’s about supporting each other.”
For more information about our Young Carers project please visit www.brentfordfccst.com