What we've been up to this month:

As the holidays come to an end, we’re looking back at a summer full of projects with young carers. School holidays are when the contrast between young carers and other young people is at its most stark. Instead of being a period of fun and freedom, for young carers the holidays often come with increased caring responsibilities, leading to stress and isolation.

At Create, we’re proud to be able to give these incredible young people a break with an opportunity to express themselves, learn new skills and develop fresh confidence and new friendships. In Nottingham, our professional photographers worked with a group of young carers to explore the city’s community and sense of local identity.

Rachael, a young carer who took part in the project, told us about her experiences:

"The whole project was focused on looking at everyday objects and places in new ways. When you’re taking pictures of things you see them in a different light. Things you’d normally walk past, if you were rushing around town, are really interesting when you stop and think about them. Seeing people enjoying parts of town you think of as normal is amazing! 

"We used different camera techniques, different heights, different angles, to make everyday things, like plants and bushes, look like somewhere other than Nottingham. When we went to the market in town, another participant and I were just having fun with the camera, taking it in turns to take photos. It was amazing to see how different the photos we came back with were even though we were taking pictures of the same place.

"On the first day of the project I only really knew two people here but now I’ve made lots of new friends. I feel much more comfortable and everyone is saying they’d do the project again if it was on. I got a photo of everyone together showing teamwork, which I’m really proud of.

"Time away from my caring responsibilities lets me be a teenager. People’s idea of a teenager is playing on gadgets, hanging out with their mates, not coming in until late, spending money when they want to. When I explain what I do for my mum, and that I’ve been doing it since I was 11, people say I do a lot, but it’s natural for me, part of my everyday routine.

"Being creative always calms me down. By taking a picture I don’t have to speak, read or write and worry about spelling or saying things wrong. I can just let the picture speak for me."

Also this month

  • Young carers in Southwark, south London, staged two vibrant performances of music and spoken word poetry for an audience of parents, local councillors and members of the public
  • At a hospital in south London, young people with mental ill-health made jewellery and music with our professional artists. Dr Richard Corrigall, a consultant adolescent psychiatrist at the hospital where the project took place talked to us about the importance of creativity in mental health care and the benefits he’s seen
  • We returned to Birmingham to run visual art and music workshops with young carers. Check out this colourful zine about healthy living!
  • The fidget spinner craze took over our project with young carers in Newham!
  • Last month, we told you about our project in Manchester that brought 56 pupils from one mainstream and three special schools together to create music and perform at Manchester’s Trafford Centre. Read our Chief Executive Nicky Goulder’s thoughts about this inspiring project in her recent blog post
  • Young carers in Bath used visual art and sculpture to transform a local shopping centre into a magical enchanted garden
  • The streets of Sutton became a backdrop for short films made by young carers. You’d never guess that these young people were filming a zombie movie!
  • And finally! We’ve just heard that we’ve been shortlisted for THREE Children & Young People Now Awards: Young Carers; Youth Justice; and Youth Work. Fingers crossed!