The words of young carers and the work we do.

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Hello to all of you who read this blog!

My name is Becky and I am a Young Carers Champion with the YCiF Project that is being lead by the Children's Society. And I am a Young Carer.

Well, for starters, that's not strictly true. I am an ex-Young Carer. I used to care for my mum who had a catalogue of health issues and depression- something which at the time I was either to young to understand or was hidden away from me. However due to hard work and research I finally found out that my mum had depression and Addison's disease- along with a mis-behaving thyroid.

I started caring for my mum at around aged 6/7 and this mainly included emotional support-something which I think people overlook as a responsibility for a young carer. I also did my fair share of the physical work- looking after my younger brother who suffered form ADHD, getting myself and him ready for school, emotionally supporting him (although like many sister brother relationships we had our regular tiffs).

So why ex Young Carer? Well on the Sunday 23rd November 2008 my mum passed away along with my title as a Young Carer.

And this has to be the point in my life when I really needed my friends. Not just for support, but to just be there for me- give me a smile when I saw them at school, talk to me like a normal person their age, be my shoulder to cry on, my celebratory mate when something did go right. And not to pity me as I recall doing at my previous school. I went back to school on the Friday and I had the typical onslaught of people coming up to me and giving me their condolences to me and literally squeezed the life out of me and kept saying 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry' over and over again. Then someone mentioned the word mum (which I think you will all agree is a pretty normal word to use) and another wave of sorry's came my way. I just remember thinking 'I don't need your sorry's, or your pity, I just want to get on with my life!'

After that I moved schools. Great I thought, another episode of 'sorry's'
I befriended a couple of girls who I still talk to today, and I remember them asking
'So Becky, who do you live with' And I replied 'It's just me, my brother and my dad'
'Oh, where's your mum' asked the curious 11 year olds
'She died' I said bluntly
Right on queue 'I'm SO sorry'. But I just said, "Don't be! Just treat me like you would treat anyone else"
Blog by Becky
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When you think of a young person, you don't usually think first aid trained. Well, I am and one of the things that I care very much about is my involvement with St. John Ambulance as one of their cadets. Cadets? Isnt that only in ther army? No, we have cadets too, and corporals and sergents! Of which I am one.
At St. John, we are one of the worlds leading first aid charities and in out youth sector (ages 5-18) we help teach young people first aid skill so they can be the difference between someone dying and someone living. We tach all sorts fo first aid skills from CPR to treating a simple burn or graze. We also equip our young people with skills that they may find useful in later life such as leadership and training skills. Within our respective units we have opportunities to participate ina range of activities, from helping to teach, to games and involving the badgers (ages 5-10). We also have the opportunity to go on camps as a district, but also regionally and nationally! I have made so many friends across the nation thanks to St. john and have managed to help a few people along the way. As well as being a cadet, our young people have the opportunity to move up within their unit. From a cadet, to corporal to sergent to a leading cadet. As well as this, there are also opportuinities to be nominated for District, Regional and National Cadet of the Year- something of which I have had the fortune to get involved in.
My name is Becky Coupland and I am District Cadet of the Year for West District, North East Region. And I am the difference.
By Becky
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Young Carers Week

Sheffield Young Carers and VOYCE present 'We care, Do you?', an exciting exhibition of young carers artwork to mark Carers Week 2014.

The exhibition, which runs from 8am on Wednesday 11 June to 5pm on Friday 13 June in Sheffields beautiful Winter Garden, will feature artwork and photography created by young carers of all ages.

A young carer is a child or young person between the ages of eight and 21 who takes on a significant caring role for a member of their family, usually an adult with a long term illness, disability or mental health and/or substance misuse issues.

Together, Sheffield Young Carers Project and Views of Young Carers Explained (VOYCE) provide a wide range of practical advice and support to young carers from all over Sheffield.

We rely on the support of our local community and we'd love you to pay us a visit! With a wide range of art on display, plus free art and craft activities for the whole family to enjoy, there are plenty of reasons to stop by and say hello.

So come along to the Winter Garden during Carers Week 2014 and show your support for young carers!

Help us celebrate young carers in Sheffield by visiting our exhibition in June

A Young Carer
By Niama aged 17 - VOYCE PG Member

She didnt want to wear the latest trends because she thought its better off to use the money to put food on the table,
So she could keep the family stable,
Bullies bullied her because she wasnt capable,
She couldnt open up, stand up or speak up because she wasnt able,
Shes always getting name called,
Studies got affected now thats a downfall,
Its easy ...to judge, tease and name call.
"Oh shes attention seeking", have you ever wondered what shes seeking?
You see her strength; weakening.
What is society teaching?
Innocent children watching every corner; peaking,
Life, what is the meaning?
Anxiety, stress, depression...
Youre labelled and get put in oppression,
Can someone give me a suggestion?
Why not give people some love, care and attention?
Were witnessing young people destroyed before their pension.
That was caused from the stress, pressure and tension.
Is it fair? She gets treated like this when all she does is care!
Its all suffocated pressure.
She wished she lived with a bit of luxury and pleasure.
There are Young Carers everywhere, without any choice,
So wake up, face reality and try to give these Young Carers a Voice!

We have also got a display up in the sheffield city centre sainsburys and local schools!
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In Southampton this weekend I attended the Media and Interviewing weekend for Young Carers Champions which took place a Fairthorne Manor in Southampton. The weekend included making new video, editing videos and learning interview skills.
By Matthew
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The team building weekend which was held at Bendrigg outdoor centre at Oxenholme Lake District in Cumbria. To gain my team leader badge I need to describe how I have lead something this weekend. During the second day, we did a blind folded activity along the low ropes and during this I told the people who was blind where to step and I instructed them if they was going on a new section of the low ropes. This was good because then I could show that I can team lead in an activity. After I had lead the way I had a go on the low ropes myself and I got told where to go by others. I have also been leading by taking pictures and blogging on makewaves. I will also lead the way by leading the trains from Oxenholme train station to Sheffield.
By Matthew
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The weekend of 29th-30th November, there was a young carers champion conference at the Hollowford centre in Hope. The weekend was called young carers in focus champions which was ran by The Childrens Society. We met lots of new people from lots of different places, and they are all amazing in lots of different ways. This weekend was about having a great time, learning new skills, meet new people, make new friends and be enthused and motivated to make a difference for young carers locally and nationally. We arrived on Friday by train and we got picked up by minibus to take us the centre, everyone was really hungry so we all went straight for tea which was very nice. After tea we went for a welcoming meeting in the lounge where we got told about what the weekend would be and what activities we would be doing. For the rest of the night we had a choice of either going to watch a film, chill around playing pool or table tennis or going to a relaxation session. On Saturday morning we had to pack and bring our things downstairs, then we went for a really nice breakfast yummy, we had to do 3 activities in the morning which was how to be an online champion, character- who am I and well being, they were really good. The options for Saturday afternoon was either filming and editing, festival planning or learning top tips for being interviewed which you could choose one to do from 1:30-2:30 then you got a choice of digital storytelling, standards for schools and mental health awareness which was from 2:45-3:45 then finally we had a choice from interviewing skills, leadership or journey planning from 4-5. When we had finished them activities we had a final session altogether where we got told about what to do on makewaves and telling us that there are other residentials coming up in the future, which I may be going to. Within the final session we got handed a pack that has lots of information in it plus a certificate. After a really good weekend we had to go home. As there is only 1 minibus we had to go in groups, I was on the last one. Then we went on the train and went home. I have wrote this blog as soon as I have got home.

Blog by Matthew Campbell
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On the 3rd October this year, I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Children's Society as a Young Carers champion and Representative to attend a meeting in London.
The meeting was held by the Department of Health and it concerned a new bill that is being developed regarding Adult Carers. You may think being a young carers representative it won't be of much use to me, but in the bill, there is a little section in the Bill about young carers. We discussed and analysed the Bill, and suggested changes.
As a young carer representative, it was interesting to meet all sorts of people who work in different areas to do with caring.
There were a few difficulties in that not a lot was mentioned about young carers in the Bill, the language was hard to understand and the Bill itself is a huge chunk of paper!

Overall the day was long, but successful and hopefully the Bill will be approved and hopefully empowering adult carers alot more and make their caring lives easier

Blog By Rebecca

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Update- Children and Families Bill- this time, Young Carers!

For those of you who know me- you will know that I have been tooing and frowing to London and back from Sheffield- my home town. The subject of these meeting has been the recent change to the Care and Support Bill- which at this current time is just a draft. So, I hear you ask, what is this new Care and Support Draft Bill?? Well, it is a draft bill that has been presented to the government to try and get more support for adult and young carers-amongst other things. The part I play is regarding young carers-as I am a Young Carers Champion with the Children Society and a young carers representative in Sheffield with the VOYCE PG group- I will do a separate blog entry about VOYCE because it is worth knowing and reading and talking about!

ANYWAYS! This meeting which I attended on the 21st August 2013 was a workshop to try and establish how to simplify this quite large and complicated bit of legislation regarding young carers. So, I went to the Department of Education building (somewhere near St James Park tube station) and met with some people from the Department of Education, (which shall now be know as DfE) the Department of Health (which shall now be known as DfH, you get the picture) and others. We talked about the legislation for Young Carers which is under Section 17, and how to simplify it. It was a very constructive meeting where I got to learn what the legislation actually meant in Layman terms. I will give you a run down-

Under Section 17, part 17ZA- the legislation basically makes it the duty of the Local authority (LA) to give a young carer a 'Young Carers Assessment' which is an evaluation of what the young carer does and what support they need. This is to try and reduce the amount of 'inappropriate caring' the young carer (y.c) does. It still applies that the young carer can request an assessment be carried out and only 1 assessment is carried out unless the y.c family situation has changed.

That is a basic outline of the new legislation but most of the enforcement for these new laws is going to be under regs (regulations) and guidelines which the DfH and DfE are going to have a further meeting on.

The overall message was that ministers seem very encouraging and passionate about the new Care bill. So that was my little visit down to London for the day! And then I had a pot of tea and caught the train. I could get used to this commuting malarky!
Blog By Rebecca
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Hey Readers!
So I was fortunate to go back to London (my honorary second home now) to attend a media festival being held my Mozilla in a really cool looking building literally right next to the O2 arena! Unfortunately nobody was playing there but anywho...
So Becky, what did I do?!?!
I did a lot of things! All of them media related in some way shape or form. I mainly learned about the different badges that I could get and create via makewaves and Digital Me and even made my own Young Carers badge which rewards and recognises the work you guys do as young carers because I think that needs rewarding and acknowledging!

I also took to the microphone and camera for some interviewing! I went around with Becca, one of the interns with Digital Me and we interviewed random people about their time during the one day I was at the two day festival. We had some great interviews!!

One thing that really surprised me were how many Americans there were! Thinking about it now, Mozilla is an American company after all! Everyone was so friendly and keen to help you learn about different bits of tech and equipment, different websites, how to create this, how to do that!
Overall it was a FANTASTIC day- albeit very very very tiring!
Blog by Rebecca
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I really should think of buying some form of accomodation in London seeing as I am constantly going down there! I think I shall request an Oyster card for Christmas.

Anyway, hello all! As you can probably guess, I headed back down to London (again!) BUT... suspence I was not alone. Oh no. I went with the VOYCE project (I have a blog post on them) as part of some Political training that myself and other members helped to deliver in a trainng day eariler this year. As a Government and Politics student myself, I found the prospect of actually seeing the intricacies of Westminster Palace (a.k.a. The Houses of Parliament) was very very very very exciting to me! And seeing as the new amendment to the Children and Families Bill will be passing through there shortly it seemed logical to book a tour and see hwo things are actually done.
So, Sunday 1st December, having had to skip opening the first door of our advent calanders, VOYCE set off from Sheffield to London at our journey was approx 3 hours. It was an interesting bus journey to say the least. We then arrived outside our hotel (it took a bit of time to find it). Can I just add that it was a **** 1/2 star hotel... We went to our rooms (which were absolutely GORGEOUS!) to unpack and familiarise ourselves with whats going on, where we are, our names, etc. Feeling a bit hungry we set of to explore the streets of London in search of food- then we found a Nando's (happy VOYCE). After finishing we head back to the hotel where some of the group decided to go for a walk and some decided to chill in our rooms. then after watching the results for X Factor (poor Tamera) and I'm a Celeb...(poor Anabelle) we dozed of and dreamed about what the next day would hold for us.

Monday 2nd December- waking up at 5:30am is a little bit of a chore but we managed to do it none the less. Freshening up and getting dressed when you can't even open your eyes was an interesting task. We assembled all bright eyed and bushy tailed (well, some of us) and set of to get breakfast at a little cafe. Then...off we went! The 20 minute walk to Parliament. Bags checked and securtiy passes on we headed for the main entrance- a massive hall with a massive ceiling. It was massive. We met Luke, our tour guide ans set off to begin our tour. We went to the Robing Room (where the Queen goes during State opening fo Parliament) and then set off to the House of Lords Chamber-NOT allowed to sit on the seats. It looks a lot smaller in real life than on the television. We then proceeded to the House of Commons- where all the action happens! And for ther first time I've seen, the HofC was quiet! Just being in the HofC is enough to make you realise that all of the laws and policies that affect us in our everyday lives are all decided in this little room probably not much bigger than your school hall. and you have to fit about 650 MP's in there!
Tour over- sad face but on the whole it was so interesting to see the centre of British politics and living place of past monarchs such as Henry VIII. If people are thinking of going to visit and go on a tour I DEFINITELY recommed visiting.your mouth will fail to stay such for the whole tour!
Blog by Rebecca
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