Young carers helped to thrive through creative arts projects

Creative arts projects are helping young carers in Merton and Lambeth develop self-confidence and communication skills, as well as creating peer support networks during breaks from caring responsibilities.

Founded in 2003, Create, a UK creative arts charity based in London, has run more than 8,000 creative arts workshops and helped transform the lives of almost 35,000 disadvantaged and vulnerable participants as part of a series of sustained, life-changing programmes.

The charity has also developed the connect: create programme in partnership with Deutsche Bank to help young carers develop themselves alongside their busy and sometimes stressful lives.

During 2017 young carers in Merton and Lambeth had the opportunity to participate in multi-arts projects, including dance, film making, spoken word poetry and music during the school holidays.

Nicky Goulder, co-founder and chief executive of Create said: “We uniquely design high-quality, carefully tailored programmes which really add value to the core provisions that young carer services are providing.

“We make sure that any activity or theme we are involved in are things those young people want to spend their time doing, so it is important that every project is individually tailored.”

Young carers are often a very hidden group in the UK, with an estimated 700,000 in the country, this number is predicted to be higher as many do not come forward.

Many struggle to maintain relationships with family and friends and 82% believe their caring responsibilities have a negative impact on their health.

Some care for up to 50 hours per week on top of their school and other responsibilities and connect: create offers them a chance to have time to themselves in a creative environment.

One young carer said of the workshops: “I enjoyed getting to meet new people that have things in common and create original work with them that meant something”

Ms Goulder said: “I think for young carers, although their home situations can be very different, and each carer is unique, there is definitely a shared experience of the kind of caring responsibilities they all go through.”

Funding cuts reduce local carer services ability to deliver workshops during school holidays, which can be a period of increased isolation for many young carers.

Youth Coordinator at Carers Support Merton, Joe Collins said: “Extensive cuts to our core funding have impacted heavily on our ability to deliver respite activities and workshops during school holiday periods.

“As such we are increasingly relying on the support of partners such as Create to facilitate such sessions.”

Of all participants through this year’s workshops 100% of staff and participants rated the project successful and enjoyable.

The partnership with Deutsche Bank and its Born to Be programme stands the project in good stead for the future and both share the vision to reduce feelings of isolation and increase young carers self confidence and self-esteem through the programmes.

Head of Corporate Social Responsibility UK, Deutsche Bank, Nicole Lovett, said: “The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020 creativity will be the third most important skill in the jobs market.

“The connect: create programme plays a vital role in developing key skills, like creativity, so those most in need improve their life chances and are able to navigate the future workplace successfully”

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