Helping Young Carers get ‘Fit for the Future’ at YCF2019
Over the weekend of 28th-30th June, the annual Young Carers’ Festival (YCF) returned to YMCA Fairthorne Manor, near Botley, for its 20th year.
YCF is the biggest gathering of young carers in the world with 1,500 young people and their group leaders attending from all over the UK. Organised in partnership with The Children’s Society, this year’s theme was ‘Fit for the Future’.
The Young Carers Festival gives young carers the chance to enjoy a break from their responsibilities, have fun, relax, make new friends and have their voices heard about the issues that affect them and their families. Outcomes from the event’s consultations with young carers help shape future work and are communicated to the government; previous consultations have resulted in two changes in legislation to help support their needs and those of their families
This year’s theme, chosen in conjunction with young carers, had a focus on ‘My Health, My Future’ to encourage and support carers to think about what they need to be physically and mentally well and ready for their future. The theme guides conversations with national and local officials and agencies about the support needed for young carers. At this year’s festival, YMCA promoted young carers’ engagement in sports, activities and fitness as a way they can take a break from their caring role and the stress this may bring.
Basking in sunshine on the hottest weekend of the year, the picturesque 85-acre site at Fairthorne Manor provided the perfect backdrop for a packed programme which included adventure activities, fairground rides, arts & crafts, live bands, a silent disco, BMX demonstrations and much more. Jim Hooper, YMCA Fairthorne Manor Community Director commented: “This weekend saw one of the most inspiring and rewarding weekends of the year as we hosted 1500 young carers and leaders from over the UK. A huge thank you to all of the volunteers, donors and staff for making it so special for an inspirational group of young people”
A question time session on Saturday offered young carers the opportunity to pose questions to Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care and the MP for Gosport, on issues that affect them and government plans. Her department has funded research regarding young carers transition to adulthood following the Carers Action Plan. Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage said:“Young carers make an invaluable contribution to society, selflessly caring for their loved ones. Already carers across the country are benefitting from the first ever Government fund dedicated to reducing loneliness in England, the Carers Action Plan, and the NHS Long Term Plan is working to better identify and support them”.
“The Young Carers Festival is an incredible opportunity to connect young people together to celebrate their roles and I was delighted to meet so many young carers and hear about the issues that affect them.”