What we've been up to this month:

For many young people, school holidays are the highlight of the academic year – a chance to relax, refresh and have fun. But for young carers, breaks from school can be a time of increased stress, as more time at home means more time taking on caring responsibilities. At Create, we work with young carers during the school holidays, enabling them to get some real time to themselves, to socialise, learn new skills and grow in confidence by creating work they can be proud of. October’s half-term break saw our professional artists deliver 50 workshops, empowering young carers from Nottingham to Kingston who created everything from abstract dance pieces to quirky ceramic creatures!

Latisha, a young carer in Merton who took part in an animation project, told us about her experiences in the workshops:

“I liked that this project was all about my imagination. There was no one telling me ‘you have to do this’ or ‘you have to do that’. It gave us freedom. I made loads of animations with Create’s artists, one of dinosaurs, one with some moving objects, one with me and my mate doing sign language. I like the sign language animation the best because it’s showcasing my talent.

At home I don’t usually have the chance to be creative. I do my chores like cooking and that’s all there is time for. At school I only have one creative subject, Food Tech, and it’s really hard to be creative in it because my teacher is telling me exactly what to do every step of the way, so it’s not that fun. I don’t usually get the chance to explore what I want to do.

Being able to get out is the hardest thing when it comes to visiting art galleries and seeing performances. Coming on projects like these, the other young carers know what it’s like but when my other friends ask me to come out, often I say ‘No because I have to look after my mum.’ They think I’m always looking after to her and eventually they just stop asking. They don’t really understand. The thing that I miss most as a young carer is hanging out with my friends on weekends. It seems that every week there is a party but when I get invited, I can’t go. That’s why it has meant so much to me to hang out with the other young carers. When a young carer asks me to come out, they understand more when it’s not possible. They know how difficult it is.

I don’t think the general public are aware of everything we have to do. I don’t think they understand how much time we spent caring, how much we miss out on and the toll it takes on us too. Some of us care for people with disabilities, others with mental illness, which is really hard. Even when you try to explain, you sometimes feel people aren’t listening.

I think projects like these are really important because when you’re a carer, you can lose a sense of yourself. You spend all your time looking after someone else. Projects like these help you understand more about yourself. Looking after someone all the time means that you’re caring more about them and their wellbeing. You lose yourself and forget who you are inside.”

Also this month:

  • Young carers on a ceramics project in Uxbridge took over our Instagram! Check out what they got up to, including a creepy Halloween handprint
  • In Kingston, the Halloween theme continued as young carers created cat-ear headbands and scuttling spiders
  • Young patients in hospitals in Berkshire, Oxford and London had the chance to relieve the stress and anxiety of being in hospital during our music workshops
  • Our 14th annual Gala Dinner raised an incredible £37,444! This will enable us to empower more disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people across the UK over the coming months.