Young Carers win regional final of the Great British Care Awards
A group of passionate and talented young carers from South Ayrshire have won the North-East England / Scotland regional finals of the Great British Care Awards for the category of Unpaid Carer.
South Ayrshire young carers, Arran, Caleb, Dorothy, Heather and Stephanie produced a short fictional film, 'The Weekend' which tells the story of three young carers and how their caring roles impact them in different ways over the space of a single weekend. The movie not only stars a number of our local young carers, but was also developed, written and filmed by young carers themselves. South Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership 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. Filming took place with the help of local film-making social enterprise, The Iris.
The film is being used for awareness raising sessions in secondary schools across South Ayrshire to help young people self-identify if they are caring for someone and improve peer understanding. As well as this, it is being utilised as a valuable training resource for staff.
Councillor Lee Lyons, Vice Chair of the South Ayrshire Integration Joint Board and Health and Social Care Portfolio Holder said, 'The Weekend is a powerful film which gives a voice to our local young carers, allowing them to share their own personal experience of their role as a carer. Giving just a flavour of their life experience helps to raise awareness and understanding of the exceptional work these young people do for their loved ones on a daily basis. The fact the film was written, performed and produced by the young carers is outstanding.'
The young people have continued to raise awareness by planning and hosting a series of events, successfully raising the profile of young carers across South Ayrshire. The film is also included in a national module by Education Scotland and Carers Trust Scotland, raising awareness of young carers across Scotland.
The award for Unpaid Carer is given to an unpaid carer or former carer who, in the opinion of the judges, can demonstrate commitment and perseverance in helping to bring about better recognition and support for carers. It seeks to acknowledge and celebrate the dedication that carers show to their local community or society or the difference they have made to the life of a vulnerable person they are caring for.
Claire Flanagan, Young Carers Strategy Lead Officer who led on the development of this film said, 'It has been a privilege working with the young carers on this project and I am incredibly proud of what they have achieved. I am thrilled that they are being recognised for their hard work and dedication on such a grand scale. It is so well deserved.'
Two of the young carers, Heather (age 13) and Stephanie (age 14) attended the prestigious awards ceremony in Newcastle. Heather said, 'I had an amazing time attending the award ceremony. It was really exciting! It's good to think other young carers are being helped by the film and realise they are not alone,'. Stephanie added, 'I was extremely nervous waiting for results and when they announced we'd won it was the most happiest feeling ever.'
A parent added, 'I am really pleased the hard work that went into creating "The Weekend" is being recognised and appreciated, not just locally but also nationally. I am so proud of the work everyone involved in the project are doing to highlight the experience of being a young carer. My daughter had an amazing time at the award ceremony, and it has been an fantastic project for her to be involved in.'
Another parent added, 'I have never felt as proud as I did getting that call saying "Mum, Mum, we won!" I cried with joy'.
The project has also been shortlisted in the Championing Diversity & Inclusion category of the Scottish Public Services Awards. The awards ceremony takes place at Holyrood next month.
The young carers will now be invited to the Great British Care Awards finals in Birmingham next year where they will compete against the other nine regions.