Multi-arts projects support young carers living in Swindon over the holidays

By Claire Dukes - 24 August 2018

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Create’s multi-arts project provides Swindon young carers with a creative and social outlet.

Young carers in Swindon had the opportunity to participate in a multi-arts project run by award-winning charity Create that was designed to give them creative and social time away from their caring responsibilities.   

Part of Create’s inspired:arts programme, which brings creative arts workshops run by the charity’s professional artists to young carers in 20 geographical locations, the project is working with young people aged 9 – 11 who attend Swindon Carers Centre. During August, the young carers explored photography with Create’s professional photographer Tracey Fahy. Taking the outdoors as their inspiration, the young people visited Roves Farm and Swindon & Cricklade Railway. Taking part in the workshops gave the young carers the opportunity to develop creative skills, build confidence and express themselves, while having fun and making friends. The project will continue in the autumn half term, when the young carers will take part in drama workshops. 

There are over 700,000 young carers in Britain, who on average take on 17 hours of caring responsibilities per week, with some spending more than 50 hours per week on their caring duties. School holidays can be a difficult time for young carers - for many, without school’s daily routine, increased time at home equates to an increase in time caring for a relative. 

The Department of Education’s February 2016 Report ‘The Lives of Young Carers in England’ states: “Holidays were particularly challenging for most young carers due to an increase in their caring responsibilities at home and the lack of opportunity to take breaks to engage in other activities both inside and outside the home.”The research demonstrated how “breaks from caring were seen positively by young carers as opportunities to relax and de-stress, enabling them to return to caring responsibilities feeling refreshed. Young carers who had experience of young carers projects, outings and respite holidays were typically very positive about such opportunities to take a break away from home and to meet others in similar situations.” This was corroborated by research published by Action for Children and Carers Trust in August 2018, which found that 72% of young carers feel lonely during the summer holidays.

Create’s inspired:arts programme develops an environment in which both creative and social skills can be nurtured and young carers are able to come together to channel their creativity collectively. By working together, the young people develop their communication skills and create peer-support networks. Each series of workshops culminates in a sharing on the last day of the project. In Swindon, an informal celebration of their photographs on 16 August strengthened the young carers’ confidence and the supportive relationships developed during the programme.

A young carer who took part in the photograph project said: “The workshops helped me to be more creative because I learnt that you have to look harder for the little things. My favourite part was going on trips to take photos.”

Create’s Co-Founder & Chief Executive,Nicky Goulder, said: “Participating in creative activities is a great way of expressing yourself and socialising. School holidays can be a period of heightened responsibility for young carers and respite from their duties as carers is important for their wellbeing.

"Our inspired:artsprogramme offers an environment for self-expression, socialising, building confidence and having fun. The photographs taken by the young carers this summer are truly amazing!”

Swindon Carers Centre’s Chief Executive, Susanna Jones, added: “Thanks to Create, these young carers have had a brilliant combination of a break from their caring role and encouragement of their creative expression in a unique and non-pressured environment - a wonderful opportunity so important for young carers to experience."   

Create’s work with young carers has been the subject of an award-winning animation produced by Bournemouth University film students, as winners of the Kingston Smith 2016 Creative Vision awards.

inspired:arts Swindon ran from 14 –to16 August and will continue from 31 October to 2 November.

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