Published: 16th May 2018
Jayne is 19years old. She has been registered with the Young Carers project South Tyneside since she was 10years old but a young carer from the age of 7years
The Young Carers Project South Tyneside provides support, advice and respite to children and young people who have a caring responsibility for a family member, who has a serious illness, a disability, a mental health difficulty or a substance misuse problem. Young Carers face many difficulties including isolation, low confidence and self-esteem, bullying and emotional difficulties. Caring can affect all areas of a young person’s life and can be detrimental to their own health and well-being. Our project aims to address these issues and provides regular and consistent leisure activities during school term time and during school holidays. One to one support is provided, small group work and residential breaks. Support is also offered within school for young carers
Jayne was very shy when she first started attending the project. She has received support for many years to ensure she copes with her caring responsibilities and to ensure she has a regular and consistent “break”. Jayne has had significant caring responsibilities and is proud to help her mam as she adores and loves her. As Jayne got older she expressed a wish to help with the younger children and certainly had a good understanding of how they were feeling. Jayne could show empathy and lots of kindness to children who were new to the project. She began helping at the groups regularly and became a very valuable member of the team. Jayne would help at the after school groups and school holiday activities. Jayne eventually became a volunteer completing the necessary training which she was proud of. She still helps at the groups and is a brilliant support for young carers. Through her example other young carers have also become helpers and volunteers meaning the peer support has grown and is immensely beneficial for young carers. Jayne is also part of our Young Carers Steering Group which is attended by project staff and representatives from South Tyneside Council. The group influences service delivery and gives young carers a voice and a platform. Jayne completed media training and interview techniques with the “Children’s Society “meaning she can conduct consultations with young carers attending the project to ensure they have their views and voices heard. Jayne was identified as one of our Young Carer Champions. She has also taken part in producing a young carers DVD where she tells her story and which is shown in all schools in the Borough Of South Tyneside and to professional teams to raise awareness of young carer issues and difficulties. Jayne even attended the Houses of Parliament during her training with the children’s society. Jayne has also participated in helping with fundraising events specifically for the young carer’s project
Jayne is very special, she began attending the project as a very young child and has coped remarkably well with her caring responsibilities. She has grown into an ambassador for the project and shows commitment to staff in her volunteering role and to young carers who receive empathy and understanding from her. Jayne has triumphed over obstacles coping with many worries and anxieties along the way regarding her mam. This has not prevented Jayne from wanting to give something back to the project and she is to be commended for this. Although caring can be stressful and difficult it can also instil many positive attributes in a young person which is certainly the case with Jayne. A few years ago Jayne showed how much her confidence had improved when she hosted an evening at the Customs House. Alongside another young carer she hosted an awareness raising event aimed at professionals. The event was a massive success with lots of young carers taking part and their families. There was not a dry eye in the house!!
In June this year, during Carers Week awareness raising was organised and delivered to health professionals at South Tyneside Foundation Trust Hospital, South Shields. This was delivered in the lecture theatre and was attended by senior nursing and medical staff. The director of the hospital was also in attendance. Jayne delivered a speech and told her story and journey as a young carer. The session was powerful and riveting, the audience was captivated listening to Jayne. Many professionals left that day with a much greater understanding of young carers and the difficulties they face on a daily basis. Jayne also conducted a second session the same day to health professionals working in the community. Her journey as a young carer continues and she is an inspiration to us all. The young carers have told us many times over many years they dream of having their own centre, where they can access holistic support in a welcoming environment. Jayne has shown a keenness and willingness to help this happen and advocates for all young carers. Jayne has given so much back to the project and will continue to do so for many years until the ultimate dream becomes a reality.
Karen Ahmed – Young Carers Manager