Buckingham and Winslow Young Carers Youth Club (YC2), supports young carers aged between 7 and 18 years, by offering one-to-one support and workshops and encouraging them to actively contribute to the planning and running of the youth club. Over the past 5 years, YC2 has sponsored 10 young carers to complete the Young Leaders Award Scheme (YLAS) with Action4Youth. Margo Jackson, Coordinator at YC2 explains how the award has helped the young carers they support to improve their future prospects:
“Our very first YLAS candidate, Abbie, went on to university and completed a degree in social welfare – she now has a good job and is still a valuable and skilled volunteer with YC2. In fact, last summer she was one of the Club leaders leading a Juniors Weekend away to an outdoors activity centre. Her responsibilities included administering recorded prescribed medications which is a big responsibility and she coped fantastically well. Abbie is now a vital part of our Club Leaders team introducing a Seniors Life Skills Programme and counselling service to the club.”
“The YLAS really helped with my confidence and gave me that boost I needed. It helped and led me into many opportunities including getting into university. I’m really glad I was able to complete the YLAS“Abbie
Margo talks about the impact of YLAS on other members of YC2: “In the past year, two of our previous YLAS participants gained apprenticeships – one in Younger Years Care and Education, and another in the medical school enrolment department at the University of Buckingham. Both of them fed back that the YLAS qualification helped them through the interview stages with their prospective employers.
“Several other YLAS participants have found part-time work with Buckingham Youth Club, another is using the YLA qualification as part of his application for engineering with the Army, and another is happily working within the care system.
“The impact the YLAS has had on our young carers has been so positive and life-enhancing, that we now look for outside funding from sponsors to meet demand from the young people themselves. The young people see the YLAS as a way of increasing their confidence, life-skills and building a network of contacts that improves their educational and employment prospects. The relatively low cost of this programme makes it much more accessible to those young people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. This year we are putting a record number of seven carers forward for YLAS with the help of local sponsors.
“Overall, for just a 3-month course, the YLAS can make such a difference as it brings amazing life skills to a vulnerable group of young people who, because of their caring roles, are statistically unlikely to achieve as much as their peers who don’t have the same responsibilities at home.”