|Emily and her Mum|
A year on and it seemed like a good time to find out more about how the steering group is developing and working, so we caught up with Emily to find out more.
To start off could you give us a little background about your own caring role?
I started to call myself a young carer when I was 14 years old. Over the past two years my caring role has been quite varied. I used to be the primary carer for my mum who died last year from terminal bladder cancer. At the same time, I cared for my younger brother who has autism. However, since my mum's death, I now help my brother to process his grief whilst also helping around the house.
Who has provided support to you during your time as a carer?
At the beginning of my caring journey, I didn't really want to accept help as I thought what I was doing was normal. However, after having a conversation with some of my teachers at school, I decided to talk to an outreach worker from Credu Connecting Carers as I wanted to meet carers with similar experiences to me. Since that initial meeting two years ago, I have continued to work closely with Credu and I really value the support I receive from them.
Why did you decide to take up the opportunity as a rep on the Carers' Steering Group?
I really value advocacy opportunities to give my views on carer-related issues in Powys. When the email came through asking whether I'd like to take up the position, naturally I jumped at the opportunity to represent the voices of Powys' young carers.
What was the main reason for setting up the steering group and what are the main objectives now?
In my opinion, the reason for setting up the Carers' Steering Group was to share experience about the support available for carers in Powys and to ensure its future. Our main objective is to discuss the priorities within carers' support as well as to represent the carers of Powys in a way that allows support to target individual carers' needs.
|Emily with her brother & her Mum|
How often does the group meet and who else is involved?
The group meets three times a year at a minimum. However, there are occasions when an extraordinary meeting is necessary. This is always accommodated well to allow representatives time to look over any paperwork or prepare any presentations.
There are representatives from Credu Connecting Carers, Hafal Crossroads, Children's Services, Health Services, Education Services and Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations.
What are the key issues for carers in Powys at the moment, and for young carers in particular?
Raising awareness and respite are the most common issues that keep coming up. Raising awareness is an issue that is raised by nearly every young carer I have spoken to. This is mainly because we all want to get our voices heard and make a difference in matters that impact upon our futures.
What have been the steering group's main areas of progress so far?
I would say that the steering group's main area of progress would be our consultations with the members of the caring communities that we represent. We then go on to include their feedback in our findings on how we can aim to continue providing support for carers in an effective way, whilst also contemplating any necessary improvements and how best to implement them.
What are the main challenges for you of your role on the steering group?
I am yet to come across any challenges within my role on the steering group. This is predominately because the other members are able to clear up any of the terms I don't understand in any of the documents or presentations I come across.
Tell us about some of the most rewarding work you have done so far with the steering group
One of the most rewarding parts of our work is to raise awareness of the need for carers' voices to be heard on a wider scale. We do this by consulting with people we know as well as through events we organise and attend as part of the steering group. Knowing that support for carers in Powys will continue to grow is undoubtedly the most rewarding outcome for us all.
When you are not busy with your various caring and educational responsibilities, how do you enjoy spending your time?
I enjoy attending events to raise awareness of issues such as educational support for young and young adult carers to make sure that I get a say in my future as well as to raise issues on behalf of my peers.
I am also doing a charity skydive on the 8th February next year that I am busy fundraising for. I am doing this to raise funds for Credu Connecting Carers and Cancer Research. This is something that I have always wanted to do in memory of my mum.
Many thanks to Emily for telling us about her experiences on the Carers’ Steering Group. If you would like to find out more information about the steering group then please get in touch with Credu Connecting Carers by ringing 01597 823 800 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org