YOUNG CARERS SERVICE
Proud to be shortlisted for the UK’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Awards 2022
The Young Carers Service supports children and young people aged 5-25 in Luton who have a practical caring role for a parent or sibling; they could be helping to care for someone with a disability, chronic or serious illness, mental health condition or learning difficulty. Young carers take on a lot of responsibility at home and this can often lead to them feeling isolated and alone; we help our young carers to feel seen, heard and valued.
The Young Carers Service offers a mixture of group and individual support, for them to know they are not alone and to encourage these young people to grow in confidence and resiliency. The individual needs of the young carers are met through this support, enabling them to lead fulfilling lives as well as gain an understanding of illnesses or disabilities that impact on their families.
The Young Carers team visits schools across Luton each month to offer both group and 1:1 support, giving the young carers access to mentoring with a dedicated person to talk to. During the school groups young carers are given a safe and confidential space to discuss any worries or concerns they have in their lives. The groups support each other in finding strategies to manage the difficulties they may be facing and also to have fun away from their caring responsibilities.
We run drop-in sessions, both in person and online, to give young carers the opportunity to mix with other young carers in a fun and relaxed environment. During the drop-ins we offer a confidential space for young people to talk to a team member if they have anything they wish to discuss. We offer a vast selection of activities during these sessions and the young people enjoy spending time with their peers chilling out and having fun.
Trips and Activities
It is important for young carers to have opportunities to experience day trips out as well as to take part in a variety of fun activities and to learn new skills. We invite our young carers to attend trips including to theme parks and theatres and yearly offer the opportunity for a couple of days away from home on group residential trip. We offer a range of regular activities including arts and crafts sessions, physical activities sessions, music-making groups, cooking workshops and even learning to solve a Rubik’s Cube! Young carers are invited to join us to visit various local workplaces including the fire station, hospitality services and to local cultural organisations to learn more about the local community.
Meet The Team
The Young Carers Service is run by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers.
“Since joining Young Carers at CHUMS, my daughter has been able to see that there are other children out there that have the same responsibilities as her, this has really helped her as she now has friends that can relate to her situation. She has attended many trips with the Young Carers at CHUMS which has given her a much needed break from her care role and also has given her opportunities to experience things that she wouldn’t have been able to due to my son’s needs and limitations. During the coronavirus lockdown, the Young Carers Team at CHUMS have been a constant relief for her as they have kept up contact via zoom calls with competitions, treasure hunts and quizzes, my daughter has also been attending the Rubik’s Cube sessions and can now solve the cube in 1 minute 50 seconds!!!! We are very grateful to CHUMS for welcoming our daughter into the group.”
“It’s a judge free zone.”
“My daughter enjoyed the trip to Drayton Manor, the best part of it was that she went on the first rollercoaster in her life and she keeps mentioning about it. She made a friendship with one little girl who was in the same group and she wished she could do it again. I just want to thank you for giving these children the ability to experience this magical moment.”
“Thank you for your wonderful service it has changed our lives great to see young carers getting a chance to explore without their families.”
We asked a young person to share their experience of being supported through the Young Carers Service and this is what they said:
“It has given young carers (YC) the opportunity to get out the house, something that normally wouldn’t happen.”
Making friends that are in a similar situation that you can talk freely to, as friends you meet within education find it hard to understand or sympathise as they are not in a similar situation.
Being a YC you are always thinking about the person you care for constantly throughout the day and it can be hard to find time for yourself or do something you enjoy. CHUMS gave me the space and tips to push me to take some time out for me and helped me realise that I need time for myself as well as being a carer.
The events that CHUMS put on are incredibly fun and bring a lot of joy as I get to do these with my sisters and sometimes the person I care for.
It is hard finding time to fit studies in, so talking to CHUMS helps me to strategise ways to manage time and deadlines effectively.
At university you feel you cannot mention that you are a YC as you feel like it’s not a valid reason for missing bits or being late sometimes. Talking with CHUMS helped to me realise that it is valid and that I should talk to the Uni to make them aware. I did and they put a plan in place and informed my lecturers so that there was less pressure and that they could be flexible with deadlines or lectures.
CHUMS are always there to lend an ear not just to me as a service user but to my whole family, which helps to relieve stress or tension at home, especially recently through our family bereavement.