Over 100 delegates attended Worcestershire Young Carers’ annual conference yesterday, Thursday 26 September. This year’s event, YC2019 Mental Health & Me, highlighted the importance of young carers getting the right mental health support and identifying mental health issues as early as possible.

The event - held at Worcester Warriors Sixways Stadium - was led and organised by members of Worcestershire Young Carers’ Participation Group. This group is funded by BBC Children in Need and gives young carers the opportunity to influence local policies, to raise awareness and to have a voice on young carers’ issues.

Guests included representatives from a broad range of sectors including health, social care and education; speakers included inspirational London-based fashion photographer and illustrator, Elspeth Van Der Hole, who was herself a young carer and who has been on an emotional personal journey to overcome depression and anxiety, and Sue Rogers, Children’s Services Manager and Blues Programme lead at Action for Children. Action for Children’s ‘Blues Programme’ is the first nationwide programme of its kind to deliver proven ‘early help’ for depression in secondary schools and is aimed at teenagers aged between 15 to 18.

A young carer and Participation Group member, said, “One of the hardest things about being a young carer is not being understood or getting your voice heard. This conference gives us a chance to tell our story and hopefully more people will know what it’s like, and know how important it is to have support.”

Jon Cawdron, Senior Project Coordinator, Worcestershire Young Carers, said, “It was wonderful to see so many people at this year’s conference and to hear from our guest speakers who gave some real insight on how we can help support young carers and ensure that their mental health needs are met. It was also great to see so many of our young carers talking among themselves and with guests from so many different sectors, creating a real buzz and sharing experiences and ideas.”

Worcestershire Young Carers provides a range of support for young carers aged seven to 17 as well as for young adult carers aged 18 to 25; this includes assessment, signposting, one to one support, monthly clubs and activities. The service has been delivered by YSS since 2003 and currently supports over 550 young carers throughout the county. 

For further information about Worcestershire Young Carers please see https://www.yss.org.uk/worcestershire-young-carers