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South Ayrshire's Young Carers team receives the Championing Diversity and Inclusion Award at the Scottish Public Services Awards

Group photo of winners

South Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership is delighted to announce that their Young Carers team have received this year's Championing Diversity and Inclusion Award at the Scottish Public Services Awards for their short film, The Weekend.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Scottish Public Services Awards have been organised in partnership with the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government. Created to celebrate the often-unsung contribution made to Scotland's civic society by the public sector and its partners, the ceremony once again showcased innovative and inspiring work from across the length and breadth of Scotland.

The short film was produced by a group of passionate young carers and multi-agency partners, the fictional film explores the experiences of three young carers and how their caring role impacts 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 and South Ayrshire Council's Thriving Communities service 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.

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 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 and is included in a national training module created by Education Scotland and Carers Trust Scotland.

Mark Inglis, Head of Children's Health, Care and Justice Services said, "We are immensely proud of the work that Claire and the young carers have done with "The Weekend" film, this award is a justified acknowledgement of their endeavour to create a more meaningful conversation about the work that our young carers do and the role that services have to understand what they do, and how to support them."

This is the fourth award won by the Young Carers team this year. Ayr United presented their Community Champion award to Claire Flanagan, Young Carer Strategy Lead Officer in March. In May, the short film project was awarded the Outstanding Improvement and Innovation award at South Ayrshire Council's TOPA awards (The Outstanding People Awards). In November, the film won the Scotland / Northeast England regional final of the Great British Care Awards, and the team will be attending the grand finals in March with some of the young carers who worked on the project next year to compete against the other nine regions.

Claire Flanagan, who led on the development of the film said, "It has been a privilege to have worked on this project with such incredible, brave, strong, and talented young carers. I am so proud and grateful for the hard work and dedication that went into production of The Weekend from all involved. It was an honour to collect the award for Championing Diversity & Inclusion and I hope this further raises awareness and helps to improve identification and support for young carers across Scotland."

Heather, a South Ayrshire Young Carer involved in the production of The Weekend added, "I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to be involved in such a fantastic film... I hope it helps other Young Carers around Scotland see that they are not alone."

The young carers team are now working with The Iris and primary aged children to make a short film suitable for their age and stage which will be shared across primary schools in South Ayrshire.