Last year Quartet Community Foundation awarded an Express Grant of £4,556 to Carers Centre B&NES to run their Art Awards Programme to give young carers time out from their caring responsibilities. This gave them opportunities they don’t get because of their caring roles.
The grant came through the AXA Enterprise Fund held with Quartet Community Foundation.
Carers Centre B&NES has contact with 560 young carers across B&NES through a range of activities including the Art Awards, a festival and other family events. After taking part in activities, 91% of young carers said they felt better and 78% said they had made friends.
What do young people get out of coming to the group?
10 year old Abdel enjoys coming to the weekly Art Awards sessions. Abdel says: “It’s fun and you learn lots of art and make lots of creative things. It helps take my mind off all the chores I do at home.”
Abdel plays lots with other children who come along too. What does he do when he’s not at school? “I play on my Xbox during the holidays and half terms and I read when I get home. Then I do my chores and clean up the table.”
The Arts Award is a program of creative activities that offers a varied program of workshops for primary age children, who follow the Discover and Explore options, and secondary and young adult carers, who can pursue bronze, silver and gold awards.
13 year old Tilly has been coming to the group for over three years. What does she enjoy about it? “It’s a different atmosphere to my home and at school so I can relax a bit more than usual. I’ve learned quite a bit of pottery and printing, things I’ve used again in school. It’s a lot of good experience that I can put on my CV.”
The curriculum is structured like an arts foundation course with children given the opportunity to try different art forms, including painting, drawing, sculpture and ceramics.
Caring for family members
Andrew Henon, the lead artist said: “The caring roles of the young people who come to the group vary incredibly from young people who are looking after vulnerable adults with issues to those caring for someone who’s severely disabled or terminally ill. They could be caring for two members of the family, including siblings.
“They build up a very strong peer support network at the art group and that goes along with confidence building. They relate with each other as they have shared stories around their caring roles.”
How can philanthropy make a difference to the lives of these extraordinary young people?
Andrew Hennon says, “Philanthropy can help by joining up with the other services, it’s working in partnership, rather than it being a gift. It’s jointly working to help other services engage better.”
Without grants would this project continue? “No no, it would end” was Andrew Hennon’s resolute response.