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Young Carers Shine at Night of the Oscars

Young Carers Shine at Night of the Oscars

Last week, South Ayrshire Young Carers celebrated the premiere of a new awareness raising film, "The Weekend". This fictional film, based on the real-life experiences of our young carers, tells the story of three young carers and how their caring roles impact them in different ways over the space of a single weekend.

This movie not only stars a number of our local young carers, but was also developed, written and filmed by young carers themselves. In partnership with the local film-making social enterprise, The Iris, South Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership and South Ayrshire Council's Thriving Communities team commissioned the film to give our unpaid young carers the opportunity to tell their own stories and share their experiences as part of a project during the 2022 summer holiday break.

Young Carers Strategy Lead Officer, Claire Flanagan, who led on the development of the film, said, "Although each storyline is fictitious, this film is absolutely based on fact - experiences bravely shared by the young people involved in this project. It has been a privilege working with them and I am incredibly proud of what they have achieved."

One of the young carers said, "I loved writing and creating this film, I've made great friends and had a great time thanks to Claire, Ross and Kelly."

Another added, "I hope other Young Carers might see this and think "I'm a young carer as well" and also let people know about some of the challenges young carers face daily."

The premiere of the completed film brought together young carers from throughout South Ayrshire as well as their families for a "Night at the Oscars" themed event. Representatives were in attendance from a variety of organisations who play a role in supporting young carers, from the South Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership and South Ayrshire Council, to Carers Trust Scotland and Young Scot. Elected members were also in attendance to show their support for the work being done.

Young Carers' Champion and South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Education, Councillor Stephen Ferry, said, "The Weekend is truly a very powerful, thought provoking and inspirational film. The performances, storytelling and production of the film was outstanding. The young carers and everyone involved in the making of this film should be very proud indeed."

Young Carers' Champion, Councillor Hugh Hunter, said, "Young Carers do what they have to do out of love for their families and friends when caring for someone. This film gives a flavour of the situations that they deal with daily and the responsibilities that they embrace for their loved ones. They are inspirational young people."

After the premiere Director of Carers Trust Scotland, Louise Morgan, stated, "I thought your film was an excellent portrayal of some of the many issues faced by young carers. Having watched the film twice, the layers and complexity of those issues and the impact on their lives became more evident each time.  The young carers represented their community so well and played their parts with a reality that stayed with me long after the end of the film. Of course, they did - it was all about their lives!"

The final film will be shown at awareness raising sessions in secondary schools across South Ayrshire. This will help young people self-identify if they are caring for someone and improve peer understanding. As well as this, it will be a valuable training resource for staff.

Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council Eileen Howat, said, "The Weekend is a very poignant and thought-provoking illustration of the life of young carers through their own eyes. I'm sure it will become an essential resource to help raise awareness and understanding of what being a young carer really means. All those who had a role in its creation and production should be congratulated."