Project to help ease the load for young carers
Thursday 26th January 2017 @ 13:29 by Adam Higgins
Ashton Community Denton & Audenshaw Droylsden Dukinfield Hyde News Stalybridge

A day can be very long for 15-year-old Ben Gillard.

As well as studying for his GCSEs, the Droylsden teenager cares for his mum, Julie, who is deaf and also has arthritis.

He is one of 469 young carers registered with Tameside Young Carers’ project, run by the borough’s Council and Clinical Commisioning Group, but it’s believed this is only a fifth of the young people in Tameside who are caring for family members.

As part of Young Carer’s Awareness Day 2017, which is being held on Thursday, Ben is encouraging other young carers to contact the project so they may benefit from some support.

Ben, who lives alone with his mum, helps out with lots of basic household chores at home – from washing up to putting out the bins.

He also often has to act as his mum’s “ears” – whether it’s listening out for the microwave to ping or listening for traffic when she is crossing the road.

Although Julie can lip-read, she also needs Ben to speak on her behalf in non face-to-face contact, such as telephone conversations.

It can all add up to a very busy day for Ben – who often has to stay up late to complete his homework and sometimes has to turn down invitations from friends.

But he says the support he receives from the Young Carers’ Project helps.

He said: “It has definitely been better since I’ve been involved with the group – it gives you the opportunity to get out, do interesting things and meet other young carers. You don’t feel as if you’re on your own.

“There’s always someone to talk to if you have any worries or concerns and you get involved in interesting projects – I’m currently working on a photography project which I’m enjoying. We also usually go on a trip every summer to Blackpool Pleasure Beach.”

Young Carers are young people who support their parents, siblings ,grandparents who may have a range of physical disabilities, chronic illnesses and mental health problems.

Young Carers Project Leader Carolynn Brierley said: “Young carers do such a valuable role – their families often say they could not manage without them.

“They are trying to go to school and have friends like everyone their own age as well as helping out at home and emotionally supporting their family. They feel this is part of their normal life and are happy to do what they do but often worry at school or feel they cannot go out if their family needs them.

“We support young carers to have time for themselves and develop themselves.”

The project runs regular groups and school holiday activities, provide grants for holidays, family days out and activities. It also liaises with schools and works with young carers individually and runs a regular ‘Time for Me’ course and has two former young carers who are tutors on the course.

To find out more about the project, you can visit www.tameside.gov.uk/carers/young/project or call 0161 338 8645.

There is also a Friends of Tameside Young Carers charity which raises money for trips.

 

Main picture:

Support: Young Droylsden carer Ben Gillard with his mum Julie