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Fact sheet

The Scottish Young Carers Festival

The Scottish Young Carers Festival Report 2009

The Scottish Young Carers Festival is supported by a steering group comprised of national carer and children’s organisations. The members are The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance, Shared Care Scotland, Barnardo’s, Action for Children, Children 1st and Carers Scotland. The Princess Royal Trust for Carers organises and manages the Festival.

Download the full report below:

The Scottish Young Carers Festival Report 2009 (400 KB)

The Scottish Young Carers Festival Report finds that the overwhelming recommendation from young carers who attend the conference to get a break from their caring responsibilities is that the festival should be run every year.

The Scottish Young Carers Festival Report 2008

The Scottish Young Carers Festival Report 2008 (333 KB)

Executive Summary
Lorna Goodwin, Scottish Young Carers Festival Coordinator

This report provides a summary of the development of the first ever Scottish Young Carers Festival that took place on the 13th and 14th of September 2008 and the consultation that took place during the festival.

The Future of Unpaid Care in Scotland, Care 21 report made 22 recommendations that would aim to improve the lives of Scottish carers. Recommendation 2 was related to young carers specifically stating that a national forum for young carers should be established and be supported by a young carers strategy. At the time the Scottish Government decided not to adopt a young carers strategy but supported the need for a national young carers forum. A national multi agency task group was established to look at how a national forum could work and be set up. The task group decided that a forum as an annual festival would be most appropriate model for engaging young carers. It was decided that the aim of the first festival should be to consult with the young carers and ask if this would be their preferred format. England has been having an annual young carers festival since 2000 and Wales have also held two young carers festivals. The festivals allowed the young people to meet and influence key decision makers whilst providing respite from their caring responsibilities.

The Minister for Public Health announced funding over a two year period to establish the festival. Various different national carer and children organisations such as The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance, Shared Care Scotland, Barnardo’s and NCH Scotland, came together to form a steering group to work in partnership to take the Festival forward. It was agreed by the steering group that The Princess Royal Trust for Carers would take the lead on the project and submit the funding application for the festival and appoint a Festival Coordinator and Festival Administrative Assistant. It was decided that the post of administrative assistant should be offered to a young carer or former young carer.

The aim of the festival was to bring 500 Scottish young carers together in a 24 hour event that would allow the young carers to highlight the issues important to them and have the opportunity to engage with key decision makers to influence the decisions and policies that affect them. It would also allow young carers to meet young people in similar situations, have a break from their caring responsibilities and raise awareness and recognition of young carers on a national platform. Section 8 outlines how these aims and objectives were met from the feedback received from young carers.

The festival coordinator and administrative assistant came into post in January 2008 and alongside the Steering Group began to shape and develop the Festival. After visiting potential venues the Broomlee Centre in West Linton was booked for the 13th and 14th of September 2008. The festival coordinator visited young carers groups from within the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance to inform the young carers of the festival and its aims. The young carers were able to share their thoughts and ideas on the festival and these were built into the festival programme. The coordinator kept in regular contact with members of the Alliance to keep them informed on the progress of the festival.

The festival coordinator was able to meet with the English and Welsh coordinators to share good practice and lessons learned so as to apply them to a Scottish setting. One of the most successful elements of the English festival was having its own radio station. It was decided that this would work well within a Scottish setting but should be facilitated by a group of young carers. Shared Care Scotland and the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance received funding for a group of young carers aged between 16-18 years to receive media training. Eleven young carers from across Scotland spent a week working with Media Education to develop media skills. Ten of the young people who received the training used this training to help run the festival radio station, interviewing the other young carers and Minister for Public Health and Minister for Children and Early Years.

As one of the main aims of the festival was to allow the young carers to engage with key decision makers, a programme was developed to allow a specific time slot within the festival for this; a political speed dating session was chosen as the format for this engagement. Invitations were sent out in May to all MSP's and other key decision makers. 16 invited guests attended the festival including two Scottish Ministers - the Minister for Public Health and the Minister for Children and Early Years. Both participated in this face to face engagement with the young carers, allowing them to hear directly from the young people the issues important to them and what they would like to see happen with regards to future young carers policies.

The main issues raised at the festival were:

  • The need for secure long term funding for young carers projects who support them.
  • Increased awareness and understanding of young carers and support they need within schools.
  • Increased awareness and understanding of young carers and support they need from GP's.
  • Increased awareness and understanding of young carers and support they need from Social Workers.
  • Need for an annual Scottish Young Carers Festival.
  • Young Carers to receive national recognition, respect and understanding.

When asked on their preferred format for a national young carers forum the most popular choices were for an annual festival and representatives from young carers projects to come together bi-monthly in a central location.

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