Many of us will no doubt have amazing childhood memories and experiences of being able to play outdoors, it's those fun bits of growing up right? However, when as a child you're suddenly faced with extra responsibilities that makes these experiences so much harder, or even impossible, then they become even more important.
A young carer is a child just like any other. The only difference is that they are responsible for the care of at least one member of their family, though they may be as young as 5 years old themselves. These children work incredibly hard to take care of their loved ones, yet they represent a largely forgotten community and often face enormous disadvantage as a result. At MYTIME Young Carers, it is their mission to level the playing field for young carers by providing them with the support and opportunities that every child needs and deserves.
"Today is a break from home - I love days like this. I get to meet other young carers and I feel like I belong." - Emily
It was lovely to hear back from Penny Day at MYTIME on a recent day out that the Alpkit Foundation had the pleasure to help support. Taking place at a local Adventure Park with 45 young carers between the ages of 5 and 18 in attendance, she let us know the significance of being able to provide these experiences.
“Through our Memory Making programme we offer activity days to young carers to give them much needed breaks from their day to day caring responsibilities and rare opportunities to take time for themselves. They help to reduce stress levels, reduce feelings of isolation and improve mental wellbeing and allow young carers to develop a sense of identity outside of their roles as carers.”
The following results from the feedback certainly indicates a real positive impact.
- 100% of participants have enjoyed taking part in activity days very much.
- 74% have had the chance to try something that they’d never experienced before on our activity days.
- 75% felt that the activity days they had taken part in had improved their mood.
- 89% made a new friend at our activity days.
- 94% felt less stressed as a result of taking part in our activity days.
- 100% felt like part of a community when they attended our activity days.
"Today has been the most fun I have had in a long time. It's nice to have a break and get to know other young carers." - Dani
“As well as enjoying the activities provided, the young carers were brought together, giving them a sense of belonging and reducing feelings of isolation as well as allowing important support networks to be built, improving confidence and self-esteem. Many of our young carers were able to try something new. These young people often lack any real sense of identity outside of their identity as a carer and this can have a huge impact on confidence, mental health, aspirations and future prospects. By trying new things, young carers can develop an all-important sense of self.”
It's incredible to think of the added stresses that these young children have taken on and the potential impact it can have during these important childhood years. The support that MYTIME provides and being able to offer these escapes is truly special, demonstrating just how important a bit of time spent outdoors can be.
"Today has given me some time to have fun and be away from home, because I don't get to go out much." - Jake