Published: 10th May 2018
Cara is 7 years old. She began South Tyneside Young Carers in January 2017.
She was very quiet and shy, she was uncertain of mixing with others and would often sit or play by herself at other groups we had attended. She attended dancing from the age of 4 and never mixed with anyone, she would stick with me and not go places without her family or someone she knew well and even then she would stress over situations changing her mind constantly like she was unsure.
She began going to young carers once a week after Christmas and really enjoyed it! She mixed well very early on, joined in lots of activities and enjoyed making things and playing games. She would come home and tell us about everything she has been doing and was excited to go back each week. She loves the arts and crafts and getting a snack pack and even playing football! She feels no pressure and can either sit quietly or join in when she feels like it so there is always something for available for her.
We noticed a huge difference in her confidence very quickly and she talked to everyone about the young carers, she wouldn’t let me call it youth club and would say it was her own group to go to as her mam gets a bit poorly. She was not embarrassed talking about it and felt really special for going.
This seemed to open up a door for her to talk about me being poorly and once she realised there was a lot of people like her it became something more normal. She has seen me be unwell but never asked about it or wanted to talk about anything, she was always just ‘OK’ and never really opened up.
Cara has attended a trip out to the dunes soft play with the group a few weeks after joining, she was eager to go and very happy to stay without a parent with her which she has never done before. She is very attached to the staff and loves doing things with them. She would never have done this before and was excited when more trips have been planned for Easter.
Cara is a different child, in 3 months her confidence has grown massively and she seems more comfortable in herself. We have noticed she is not so shy after all and speaks to other children and adults a lot! She asked for a part in her school performance and was given a lead role which she performed in front of the whole school and parents. This is something Cara would have never have wanted to do before and would have worried about for weeks.
It is amazing to write about Cara now as we were so worried about her being isolated and struggling to find a place to fit in and be herself. I’m confident she will continue to come out of her shell and I am pleased she is going to grow up with this amazing support.
Sarah – Cara’s Mum