Pupils and school staff received star treatment at an awards ceremony held to celebrate young carers.
The awards ceremony was held to recognise young carers, as well as those who support and encourage them at school.
Swindon Carers Centre invited more than 25 local schools to the Young Carers Champion and Ambassador Award Celebrations at the Village Hotel.
Young carers and school Young Carer Leads enjoyed a sit-down lunch, entertainment, and the chance to meet other young carers and collect their awards.
Ann Giles, Schools Development Manager at Swindon Carers Centre, presented Ambassador Awards to staff from the following schools:
- Beechcroft Infants
- Haydon Wick Primary School
- The Commonweal School
- Dorcan Academy
- Seven Fields Primary School
- St Catherine’s
Swindon Carers Centre says there are more than 900 young carers in Swindon, helping to look after a sibling, parent or relative at home due to a disability, illness, mental health condition or drug or alcohol problem.
A spokesperson for the charity centre said: "If you are a young carer, having a Young Carer Lead at school – someone you can turn to for support if needed – can make a real difference. Many schools are helping pupils to make friends and meet other young people caring for a family member through young carer clubs."
This year’s Young Carers Champion and Ambassador Award Celebrations aimed specifically to recognise the support given to young carers by school staff in Swindon through a particularly difficult year during the covid-19 pandemic.
Susanna Jones, CEO at Swindon Carers Centre, said: “We know how difficult the past year as been for everyone, but particularly for young carers – many of whom have taken on additional caring responsibilities and have had the challenge of completing schoolwork on top of this.
“To our young carers, you are amazing, you are special, and it is lovely to have you here. To our Young Carer Leads, schools have had such a challenging time, but you have continued to support young carers despite all the different priorities you have. Thank you for everything you do.”
As part of the afternoon, young carers were asked to write down their thoughts about their Young Carer Leads.
One pupil said: “It is so fun going to places with you in young carers, because you brighten up our day at the hardest times. Although we have a lot going on at home, you always help us with our problems and are super supportive. Thank you for always trying your best.”
Every young carer attending received a certificate to thank them for being an amazing young carer. Pupils from Holy Family Catholic Primary School also made guests smile with an impromptu group dance on stage.
Sarah Blackmore, Young Carer Lead at the school, said: “The main thing is for the children to feel that they are not alone, there is someone else who might understand how they are feeling and the additional caring responsibilities they have.
“They get on really well as a group. It has been so long since they have been able to go out and do anything. It’s a day out to recognise that they are special and to treat them after the year we’ve had with the covid-19 pandemic.”
More information on Swindon Carers Centre can be found at https://www.swindoncarers.org.uk/