about_us

Sandwell Young Carers

Welcome to Sandwell Young Carers Services

Sandwell Young Carers is a registered charity set up in 1994 to identify and support children and young people (aged 5-18 years) whose health, education and social lives are affected as a result of caring for a dependent family member. This organisation created the first Young Carers Centre in the country, which became its central base for staff and activities in 2000, later evolving into a Satellite Centre for Learning in 2010.

As a Sandwell-based charity we are committed to the overall values of the Young Carers Strategic Statement. To ensure that young carers are recognised and valued, receive support for 1their caring role, and are safeguarded against taking on responsibilities which jeopardise their well-being and prevent them from achieving their full potential.

Our team of 32 staff, volunteers and board members help meet this goal by providing the following services:

  • Short Breaks
  • Promotion of Work with Young Carers
  • Support Work

Short Breaks Provision

The short breaks programme is funded in the main through commissioned services, however, additional funding through charitable grants have enabled us to enhance the services to include:

  • Youth sessions for ages 11-18 years (3 evenings per week)
  • Play sessions for ages 5-11 years (2 per fortnight)
  • Holiday scheme (during school holidays)
  • Positive family activities (inclusive of fun days, away days, fayres and celebration events)
  • Offsite day trips (minimum of 6 per annum)
  • Study Support Workshops (evenings and weekends)
  • Transport (limited)
  • Residential Break (inclusive of Young Carers Annual Festival)

Outcomes:

Improved levels of well-being by providing a break from caring responsibilities and providing opportunities for interaction with other young people in similar circumstances.

Support Work Provision

The support work services are financed through grants from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities, BBC Children in Need, and Positive Activities for Young People. These are designed to offer guidance and support to young carers. The team of five staff (assisted by social work students) work with young carers to look at issues affecting their education, social integration and health through one-to-one and group work, and partnership practice. These include:

  • Initial Assessments /Pre-CAFs /CAFs
  • Family Induction3
  • Advocacy
  • Integration into mainstream services
  • Mentoring
  • Accreditation and guidance :
    • Accredited courses, ie, ASDAN
    • Homework clubs
    • Volunteering
    • Careers Advice
    • Peer Mentoring
  • Education Welfare - access to educational support
  • Family Support and Guidance
  • Hosting of Sandwell's Young Carers Forum Group
  • (comprising current members and ex-young carers)

Outcomes:

Young carers gain higher levels of education attainment, increased levels of self-confidence, greater resilience and reduced levels of social isolation as well as acquiring improved skill levels with which to manage their caring responsibilities.

Promotional and Support Work with Young Carers

(professionals responding to the needs of the 'hidden young carers')

Promotion and Support Work with Young Carers was commissioned by Sandwell MBC to ensure identification of as many young carers as possible by Sandwell's key agencies

This involves the implementation of a range of promotional activities in order to ensure CCG and other health professionals, schools and education establishments increase their awareness and improve their response to young carers:

  • GP Toolkit
  • Education Support Package 'young carer-friendly schools'
  • Young Carers Survival Guide
  • Webpage for professionals, young carers and their parents
  • Delivery of Learning Events (awareness raising sessions)

Outcome:

Ensures professionals have the knowledge and skills to support young carers and help them to not to avoid taking on inappropriate caring roles.

Sandwell Young Carers

Sandwell Young Carers and its members assisted in the development of Sandwell Council's Young Carers Strategic Statement (May 2011) and the Children and Young People's Scrutiny Panel's report Young Carers in Sandwell: Everyone's Business. As a result we brought together over fifty young carers to be consulted by commissioners and professionals, about their needs. This was the largest number of young carers to be directly consulted that Sandwell has ever known. We are currently in contact with 200+ young carers with an aim to identify and support an additional 500 vulnerable young carers over this next year.