Young Carers – YMCA Swansea

Young Carers Service, YMCA Swansea – WINNER

YMCA Swansea Young Carers project is a bespoke provision that increases young carers resilience towards their caring role and improves their health and well-being.

Young carers participating in the project are under 18 and care for someone affected by; a long-term illness, physical disability, mental health illness or substance and alcohol use.

Young carers are unlikely to have opportunities that other young people may have. So the project gives young carers opportunities in a safe environment, where they are encouraged to be young people, have fun, make friends, relax and focus on themselves.

Young carers miss out on a lot of experiences and life opportunities due to their caring responsibilities and so the young carers project provides vital support and services that aim to reduce the barriers to young carers development.

The project offers intense family and one to one support, buddy sessions, group work and exciting trips and activities as well as offering an awareness raising program in schools around, Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot.

The difference that is witnessed and is evident in young people from participating in this project is truly inspirational and the transformational changes in young people has an overall impact for the entire family.

Families Team, YMCA Norfolk

Families Team, YMCA Norfolk – FINALIST

YMCA Norfolk Families Team provides specialist support to families at the request of Norfolk’s Children’s Services, working with families affected by domestic violence, poor mental health and special needs.

The team works with children at risk of entering the care system, classed as being on the ‘edge of care’, or those in the care system who would like to return home. The challenge has been to keep families together.

The team’s strength is its ability to adapt to changing circumstances, engaging effectively with each family. An example was supporting a pregnant mother whose children already had a Child Protection Plan for neglect. The team established a trusting relationship with the mother, helping her address her own anxieties. They shared parenting techniques so she could support her children and arranged emergency accommodation when the father posed a safeguarding risk. Following six months of intensive support, and the safe arrival of the baby, the family was signed off by Children’s Services.

The impact this work has had on individual families has been significant.

  • 44 of 50 families (88%) remained together during the interventions
  • Risk levels to children were reduced in 22 families (44%)
  • Nine families (18%) were removed from statutory involvement, with four families changing from a Child Protection Plan to having no Children’s Services involvement.
Space 2, YMCA Newcastle

Space 2, YMCA Newcastle – FINALIST

Space 2 is a city centre youth project based in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne. We currently have just under 4000 members from 23 different nationalities. We run a daily drop in session where we can get up to and over 100 young people attending each night. Our first priority is to offer a safe space in Newcastle for young people to relax and interact with their peers. Our youth work programme comes under four categories.

  • Personal crisis support – we offer a wide range of support from housing and benefits to immigration and family mediation.
  • Personal development – this includes everything from DoE Award, volunteer course and dance sessions to sports, cooking and culture.
  • Employability – we help our young people with CV support, job searches and job clubs.
  • Enterprise – this includes business plan support, office space and marketing support.

Over the year, many young people have benefited greatly from our services and we continue to provide much needed support to the community.

Young Carers – YMCA Cardiff

Time 4 Me, YMCA Cardiff

YMCA Cardiff has run a young carers project “Time 4 me” since 2008 covering Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Our Young carers are children and young people 7 – 18 years old who help care for a family member who lives with them. The family member could be experiencing difficulties with one or more of the following: disability, illness, mental health issues and substance misuse issues.  Our young carers provide support such as housework, washing, dressing, providing medication and emotional support.

YMCA Cardiff works with over 200 young carers and supports them through respite, advocacy, group work sessions and accreditation. By taking part in the project, some young carers experience things they would never have, such as sailing, horse riding and residentials. Many have grown up to overcome barriers and reach exceptional levels of achievements. They also have the opportunity to learn new skills like first aid and cooking, meet other young carers, make friends and have fun!

Within this year, our young carers have had the opportunity to participate in:

  • A Challenge Wales trip
  • A Young Carers Festival
  • Gardening Project
  • Snow Camp
  • SleepEasy
  • Fundraising Youth Exchange Event
  • Various activities, such as white water rafting, swimming and paint balling
Youth Ipswich – YMCA Suffolk

Youth Ipswich, YMCA Suffolk

Youth Ipswich provides two weekly youth drop in sessions for 9-16 year olds. Activities increase confidence, aspirations and provide emotional support. The project provides a safe environment for children. Access to positive activities steers children away from negative and risky behaviour on the local streets. It is important for children to have an environment where they can interact age-appropriately and be free of prejudice.

One child who attends said, “We need more places like YMCA to stop bad things happening to us as I don’t feel safe out.”

The project enables the children to be decision makers, planners and leaders. One child said, “I just love it here.” Youth Ipswich gives them a sense of belonging and they identify YMCA Suffolk as being their place.

Through our partnership with Fairshare food donations, we ensure all children receive a nutritious meal at least twice a week.

The project gives the children an opportunity to come together. They share their diverse cultures, celebrate their differences and connect. It breaks down the stereotypes and challenges negative ideas.

To date, 96 children have registered with Youth Ipswich. This is fantastic as the project only began eight months ago.