The weekend before last a group of young carers from West Sussex took part in the 13th Young Carers Festival bringing together young carers from across the country for a weekend packed full of activities at Fairthorne Manor with the support of the YMCA.
This is an annual event and caters for 2000 young carers giving them the opportunity to take a break and spend time with peers, make new friends and share stories. A range of activities from outdoor sports to crafts, discos & bands on the festival stage this is a fun-filled weekend full of activities. Read more about it from young carers themselves.
Young Carers work throughout West Sussex has developed and has become a great partnership between the Young Carers Service which is part of Social Care and the Youth Support and Development Service. Local groups have been set up across the county and now operate on a fortnightly basis giving all young carers the opportunity to take part in activities especially for them. Alongside this we have an active programme of positive activity days which happen during the holidays providing a range of personal development opportunities where young carers learn a range of different skills and increase their self confidence.
A developing aspect of our work is the creation of a group of older Young Carers (16+) who will be setting themselves up as an independent group to represent the voice of Young Carers and look at Services for them. I’ll report later how it goes!!
I’ve been thinking about Youth Leadership recently due to the work I’m involved in with Targeted Youth Support, especially the Inspire India programme.
Courtesy of Jule Berlin
Having been involved with the group on two weekend residentials and over a mixture of evening meetings it’s become very obvious that there are young people engaged in the project who could be future ‘leaders’. This has also come through during their time overseas in India.
With the Inspire India weekend review and volunteer planning session approaching this weekend we have been discussing how we might provide more opportunities to develop these talents. We have a Junior Youth Leadership programme that runs for young people involved in youth centres across the county which has been developed and worked on by both young people and staff. We also have opportunities within the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, and through our participation team where young people can get involved with the Youth Cabinet and the 24 the locality forums set up for young people to assess bids by other young people for the Youth Opportunity Fund.
It’s timely to be thinking about this with the recent launch of the National Body for Youth Leadership which has branded itself as The Youth of Today. I’m wondering whether there is something more we could be doing, particularly with our Targeted groups, to help support and encourage them in developing their leadership skills, especially with their peers. There will be a new round of funding opening at the end of this month to support innovative Youth leadership programmes. What about you? How are you developing youth leaders? Do you have any special programmes or development opportunities? How do you target young people for this or do you aim your work at everyone? Any thoughts are welcome as usual!