Young Carers Group
Farlingaye now has a Young Carers group.
School communities reflect society and so here at Farlingaye our school community includes people from a range of backgrounds, with varied experiences and a huge variety of responsibilities. One group of students for whom their home situation may influence their experience of school and all it has to offer, are young carers.
A young carer is a student who helps to look after a family member; this may involve physical or emotional care, or taking responsibility for someone’s safety or well-being. However the level of responsibility assumed by a young carer is often inappropriate to their age and at a level beyond simply helping out with jobs at home, which is a normal part of growing up; as such it may impact on the education of the young person. Our aim is therefore to support the young carers within the school and to raise awareness of the role of young carers.
The FHS Young Carers Group meets regularly in order to ensure that the students who are young carers are aware of the support available and can share their experiences with others in similar situations. In addition, the group offers a range of activities; in the last year these have included cooking, first aid and afternoon tea! The informal meetings are led by the students and always fun!
For some young carers attending meetings isn’t how they want to approach support, and so for these students simply knowing they can quickly and easily access help is enough; an open door policy works and having a named member of staff (Mrs Laird) means the students feel they don’t need to explain their circumstances every time a concern arises and that their privacy is being respected. In addition to offering encouragement and support within school, the group also has access to external organisations, for example Suffolk Young Family Carers regularly liaise with the school and are able to offer assistance to the young carers and their families outside school through a national network.
For parents too having a named contact at school is helpful, especially when circumstances change, and Mrs Laird is always happy to speak to concerned families.
An important part of the groups ethos is to raise awareness in the community of the role of young carers and assemblies, staff training, and events such as celebrating National Young Carers Day all contribute to this and help to ensure that the young carers in our midst are admired for what they do.
The FHS Young Carers Group has been recognised for the support it offers and the way in which it raises awareness of young carers, achieving the Platinum Award in the Standards for Young Carers. The students have also contributed to the local and national debate about the role of young carers in society today, always stressing that they are not ‘young carers’ but’ students who happen to be Young Carers’.
If anyone as concerns, please contact Mrs C Laird at the school or email CLaird@farlingaye.suffolk.sch.uk
or Suffolk Family Carers at http://www.suffolkfamilycarers.org