Merton charity bags top £4k grant to support young carers

A Merton carers charity won the top award of almost £4,000 from a community carrier bag scheme.

Tesco customers voted Carers Support Merton (CSM) the recipient of £3,796 which it will use to support young unpaid carers.

The Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ scheme, which awarded the grant, uses proceeds from the sale of carrier bags to back deserving community projects across the UK.

“We were absolutely delighted to win, it will mean for young carers who have their childhood taken they have an opportunity for them to be a child again,” said Tracy Weight, chief executive officer of Carers Support Merton.

Supporting carers as young as five, the charity hopes the money will fund a ‘Young Carers’ School Holiday Project’ to give young carers the chance to have a break.

Ms Weight told me that break is much needed: “Young carers are proud of their role but they need support, the social care system would collapse without them.”

REFRESHED: Malakye enjoys the trips he goes on with CSM, and cannot wait to tell his parents about them when he gets home. Image credit: Carers Support Merton

Malakye, 14, who lives in Mitcham, has cared for his family since the age of five when his mother developed intracranial hypertension, leading to the loss of her peripheral vision and serious migraines.

Added to this, his mother has been partially deaf all her life and struggles to walk unaided.

Malakye’s father had to work to keep food on the table.

This meant Malakye had little choice but to support his mother and two younger brothers, one of whom has autism.

“One of the hardest things was being at home knowing mum was in pain,” Malakye said.

When he found CSM, he was given the chance to take a break from his caring responsibilities.

“I think we went to a play, I remember it being really fun and wanting to go again.

“It’s really refreshing, when I get home from a day with CSM it’s the first thing I tell my parents, I share it with them,” Malakye said.

The money awarded to CSM will directly benefit young carers like Malakye, who will be able to go on trips with other young people in a similar position.

CARER: Jamel helps with jobs round the house while his mum care for his younger brother. Image credit: Carers Support Merton

The charity also helps young carers like 12-year-old Jamel, based in Merton, who began caring for his family after his seven-year-old brother was diagnosed with epilepsy earlier this year.

Jamel helps clean, cook and do things around his home while his mum looks after his brother Kassa.

So far he has been on a trip to Thorpe Park with CSM but hopes to do more with the organisation.

HAPPY: Jamel and Malakye at Thorpe Park on a CSM trip. Image credit: Carers Support Merton

“It’s helped me do things I can’t do on my own or with Kassa,” Jamel said.

“I come home and know I’ve done something I would not have been able to do, it makes me feel happy.”

Feature image credit: Carers Support Merton.

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