Gloucestershire's Apprenticeship Champions 2019


How businesses can support the challenges of Gloucestershire’s young carers

The charity Gloucestershire Young Carers is celebrating 25 years of supporting children and young people who are caring for family members. And, more than ever before in their history, they are working in partnership with local companies and community groups to do this vital work. There are estimated to be more than 7000 young people in Gloucestershire who are taking on ‘adult- sized’ responsibilities in their families – looking after siblings because their parents are ill, disabled, experiencing mental ill health or are affected by problematic substance misuse. They may be living lives very different to their peers, experiencing the impact of having a brother or sister with a severe disability or affected by autism. Katie Ann is 11. Her mum has had a heart condition since she was born, and in 2014 she had a stroke, triggered by medication following heart surgery. Katie Ann understands what life is like in a family with long-term illness and disability. She says some of the greatest challenges she faces as a young carer are: ‘ignorant people’ and ‘worrying’. Gloucestershire Young Carers is like family to her, and at her young carers' respite support group she meets new people and enjoys activities that she probably wouldn’t be able to enjoy if she didn’t go. She recently did a presentation to staff at bathroom and kitchen productsmanufacturer Kohler EMEA inQuedgeley. Telling their story is just one of the opportunities that young carers have through the charity, opportunities that empower them, giving them confidence to be proud of how they deal with their challenges. The young people also get to see the positive impact that telling their stories has. Kohler chose Heartfelt loss A funeral procession made its way slowly down Dursley High Street. Half a dozen family members were acting as pallbearers. On top of the coffin was a fishing line, a

Gloucestershire Young Carers as its ‘Charity of the Year’ over 18 months ago. They have held fundraisers such as cake sales and barbecues, similar to the way many companies fundraise but, above and beyond that, they have also engaged with the young people themselves. Simon Ashley, IT manager at Kohler EMEA, said: “It is so important that our staff meet the young people that the charity supports. It helps us to understand how vital the charity’s services are and in turn, this inspires our staff teams to fundraise.” More than 20 companies are currently supporting Gloucestershire Young Carers through fundraising, direct involvement in support work, volunteering or skills sharing. Next February, the charity will hold its second ever We Care, We Dare challenge event, in partnership with Hartpury University. Corporate and community teams will be sponsored to face challenges like holding creepy critters and drinking vile concoctions similar to the show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Fundraising manager Jane Dyer says: “We know that one of the most important aspects of fundraising is ‘fun’ and we believeWe Care,We Dare is a unique event, where our supporters can be challenged to step outside of their comfort zone – just like young carers do every day of their lives” l For more information on how you can support Gloucestershire Young Carers visit: or contact Jane Dyer on 0782 801 6857

net and some bait. A passerby remarked solemnly, ‘He must have been a very keen fisherman.’ ‘He still is’, said another. ‘In fact, he’s off to the river to the river as soon as they’ve buried his wife’ l

68 | December 2018 | www. punchline-gloucester .com

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