Again the Young Carers’ Festival was held at the Broomlee Centre in West Linton. Most important was the chance for so many children and young people who take on caring responsibilities to take time out and have the chance to chill in an environment where others face similar things and want to chill and chat.
Near the end of the festival, a whole range of people with an interest in supporting young carers were invited to join festival goers. Thus, we can understand their needs better and we can hopefully act on them effectively.
We witnessed the theatre forum at which some young carers acted out scenarios to create discussion points. The first scene was how not to do things! This was then repeated and the audience were asked to raise a hand if they could think of a better way of dealing with the issue at hand. One scenario was a classroom where the teacher strategies needed changing and the other was the home of a carers whose friends were not very supportive.The second run brought lots of great suggestions for us all to share and think on!
With the Carers (Scotland) Act regulations coming forward this year, it was really useful to hear the comments at the political speed dating session though quite shameful how some of the issues were being raised the first time I attended the festival 5 years ago!
Some of the issues I will take up are:
- the initial training of teachers should include a focus on young carers
- a young carers’ bus pass
- transport to young carers groups
As a co-convenor of the Scottish Parliament I look forward to welcoming young carers to a meeting half way between now and the next festival to see how we addressing the issues that matter to young carers.
I recently added my support to the following motion:
Scottish Young Carers Festival
That the Parliament recognises the Scottish Young Carers Festival, which ran from 2 to 4 August 2016; notes this highly important festival, which allows nearly 700 young carers to come together and discuss issues that are important to them, provides them with a platform to speak to MSPs, councillors and officials, allows them to have a break from their caring responsibilities and to take part in fun activities; notes the huge contribution that young carers make to Scottish society; recognises that caring responsibilities can affect a young person emotionally, physically, socially, educationally and financially; recognises that young carers can go unnoticed or unrecognised until there is a crisis; notes that there are 759,000 carers aged 16 and over in Scotland and 29,000 young carers; recognises that three out of five people will become carers at some point in their lives and one in 10 is already fulfilling some sort of caring role; notes the valuable work of Carers Trust Scotland, which reaches around 30,000 adult carers and 2,400 young carers from all groups and communities with its network of independent carers centres and young carers services; commends the work of all carers in Scotland, and aims to do more to support them.