Suffolk Family Carers
Suffolk County Council commissions Suffolk Family Carers to deliver support services for Young Carers (5-15 years old) and Young Adult Carers (16-24 years old).
The service helps young carers and young adult carers have a break from their caring role, reduce feelings of isolation, helping them create friendships, gaining peer support, build their confidence and raising aspirations for the future. Improving emotional wellbeing for young carers and young adult carers is a key part of the work Suffolk Family Carers does. Their work in schools and colleges supports the Raising the Bar objectives to raise educational attainment in Suffolk. They also work directly with families and Social Services to identify and help reduce inappropriate caring roles.
This is achieved through differing levels of support following a needs-based assessment.
“Both my children now know that they are not alone having to look after a disabled parent. They have made many friends, look forward to the monthly meetings and look forward to school holidays now. They have the confidence now when they need to speak to a teacher or another adult if they are concerned about anything. Positive outcome all round……. You're providing a brilliant service and not only are my children benefiting, but I do too. Especially in the respect that I no longer feel like a total failure as I can't do much.”
Their team of professional Advisers undertake assessments and reviews with the young people who are registered with the service. They also support other professionals who work with young carers, such as school nurses and pastoral staff in schools and colleges.
There are three age groups that Advisers work with, ensuring staff have relevant experience and training for specific age groups:
- 5-8 year olds
- 9-15 year olds
- 16-24 year olds
Advice and Information
- Dedicated phone line open Monday – Friday, 9 am to 4.30 pm to provide advice and information to young carers and young adult carers, their families and professionals.
- Young Carers 01473 835 430
- Young Adult Carers 01473 835 431
- On-line resources for both young carers and young adult carers, their families and professionals.
Working with Schools and Colleges
Suffolk Family Carers provides schools and colleges with the resources to develop young carer and young adult carer support in schools and colleges. There is growing evidence that if young carers are identified and offered appropriate support in schools and colleges this can improve their educational outcomes.
For more information please visit, http://www.suffolkfamilycarers.org/.
Respite and Social Events
Young carers and young adult carers often don’t ordinarily have the opportunity to socialise with friends or enjoy a day trip out. Monthly clubs and holiday activities give young carers a break from their caring role, the opportunity to have some fun, be a young person away from their day-to-day responsibilities and gain peer support from other young carers who understand the challenges caring can bring.
- There are currently 10 monthly young carer clubs that are held across Suffolk that provide age specific activities for 5-8 years olds, 9-12 years olds and 13-15 year olds. In addition, there are a number of monthly social events for young adult carers aged 16-24 years old such a book club, craft evening, media group and general social groups where young carers can just meet up and chat with each other.
- There are also a number of holiday activities arranged in school and college holiday periods. These are often delivered in partnership with specialist providers to provide a variety of activities to encourage active participation. This includes working with Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Hands on Heritage, Pioneer Sailing Trust, Suffolk Artlink, Abbeycroft Leisure and Ipswich Community Media to name a few.
- Additionally, there are numerous, age appropriate, small friendship group activities arranged that can include a day in the park or beach, pond dipping or crabbing, a shopping or cinema trip,
- Residential trips may be offered and are a welcome treat for young carers and young adult carers, especially those who are not easily able to have a holiday with their family. The benefits, in terms of improved self-confidence and self-esteem, are easily recognisable and often lead to valuable personal development for the young people. Residential trips include camping, activity centres and sailing.
Personal Development Workshops
The service aims to empowerment and enable young carers and young adult carers, helping them develop life skills and other life enhancing experiences. This includes support to master independent travel aimed at empowering young adult carers to lead fuller, independent lives and to engage in their local communities.
Working in partnership with community groups and other charities, young carers and young adult carers also can have the opportunity to learn skills such as cooking, first aid and swimming. They also have the opportunity, working with our partners, to have good personal development opportunities through sailing, media and camping residentials. Some young adult carers have also been invited to participate in the Rotary Young leaders Award.
There are also number of workshops offered for young adult carers to increase self-confidence and improve emotional wellbeing. This includes Be Your Own Best Friend, Be Your Own Leader as well as assertiveness and condition specific workshops.
The service responds to specific needs and periodically will commission external trainers that can provide, for example, mental health awareness training. Many young carers and young adult carers are either caring for someone with a mental health condition or are struggling themselves with their own emotional wellbeing. By providing this age appropriate training young adult carers felt better informed about mental health and reported that they understood both how to manage their caring role better and make changes to improve their own mental wellbeing.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
Suffolk Family Carers is an approved centre to run the DofE. This is offered to young carers and young adult carers who have not taken up the opportunity to do this in school. The programme will be provided in a supportive environment with the help of volunteers and peer support as well as dedicated support staff who can help young carers and young adult carers overcome some of the challenges that may ordinarily have excluded them, because of their caring role, from embarking on this award.
For more information about Suffolk Family Carers and the work we do with young people go to www.suffolkfamilycarers.org