2018 - 2021 Social Action Programme
The Social Action programme was a project supported by comic relief that the Carers’ Centre facilitated for young carers over three years. Social action is about people coming together to improve their quality of life and solve important issues within their communities. Our programme supported young carers to identify things that they would like to change and helped to implement those changes. We worked with groups of young carers aged 10-18 in schools and in the community. The groups discussed issues important to them and then decided together how they were going to tackle it.
Thank you to all young carers who have participated in Social Action Projects over the last three years, whether you’ve written stories, made anti-bullying videos, created art, designed a social media campaign or made videos. You have all contributed to having young carers voices heard and your stories told. Well done to you all, you’ve worked so hard!
Young people have enormous potential and we continue to be dedicated to helping young carers reach their goals. The Programme produced several creative pieces including, a podcast, a collection of short stories, films and most recently a time capsule. The projects were:
In 2018 a group of young carers came together for a music Social Action Project in the holidays to write and record their song, “Anything”. The project was supported by Beccy Owen and Will Lang and recorded at Loft Studios.
In 2018 a group of young carers came together for a music Social Action Project in the holidays to write and record their song, “Unwind”. The project was supported by Beccy Owen and Will Lang and recorded at Loft Studios.
In 2019 a group of young carers came together for a music Social Action Project in the holidays to write and record their song, “Hide Away”. The project was supported by Beccy Owen and Will Lang.
In 2019 a group of young carers came together for a music Social Action Project in the holidays to write and record their song, “Anything”. The project was supported by Beccy Owen and Will Lang.
Young carers from North Tyneside came together to discuss issues that affect them as young carers, to tell their story, interview key decision makers and those in positions of power. The podcast series explores the impact their caring role has on education, mental health, social activities and the support they are able to receive. Written and produced by young carers, to tell their stories, in their own words. They recorded 6 episodes and interviews.
Episode 1: Being A Young Carer
Episode 2: Interview with Julie Firth and Lesley Davis from North Tyneside Council.
Episode 3: Interview with Lesley Young-Murphy; Chief Executive of North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group.
Episode 4: Interview with Norma Redfearn; Mayor or North Tyneside Council.
Episode 5: Interview with Paul Hanson; Chief Executive of North Tyneside Council.
Episode 6: Interview with Wendy Burke; Director of Public Health at North Tyneside Council.
In 2020, young carers who support a neurodivergent sibling came together to share experiences and learn about ADHD and autism. They decided to make a film to describe what it feels like to be a young carer. This project was supported, filmed and edited by Tyneside Cinema.
A group of young carers came together online to explore wellbeing and the impact Covid-19 had on their wellbeing during lockdown in 2020.
The young carers begun by learning about the five ways to wellbeing in and developed friendships developed despite many of the group never meeting face to face. The mental health charity Mind identifies five ways we can look after our wellbeing and to support others to look after theirs too; connect, be active, take notice, learn and give. The young carers learned about small ways they can improve their wellbeing, especially during several lockdowns and the many worries they as carers have experienced. Getting outside for a walk proved beneficial to this group, alongside interests including reading, gaming or watching their favourite film. They also identified how important friends and family have been during the pandemic. As the discussion about wellbeing progressed, and they identified things they had done in the week between sessions, they understood how the small things we do every day, often without thinking about it, can impact our wellbeing.
The young people were inspired by a virtual photography workshop with Glasgow based photographer, Elly Lucas, to use creativity to express what wellbeing means to them. The project collaborated with Seven stories, the national centre for Children’s books, based on the Ouseburn in Newcastle and Belsay Hall in Northumberland. The project encompassed the theme of wellbeing, nature, creativity and children’s stories. This formed the basis for the young carers to express themselves and interpret the project in a way that suited them. Seven stories provided the young people with scrapbooks to document their thoughts, feelings and creative outputs. Some young people used the scrapbooks to draw or share photos from their walks during lockdown, other young people discovered reading as a way to get lost in a world that was different to reality. They learned to create together, and in doing so explored ways towards positive wellbeing. We are all different. We all require different things to feel better after a bad day and this group of young carers recognised this throughout their social action project.
One young person said; “The project was really interesting; I was surprised that I could make friends with people I have never met in person. It was interesting to see that everybody has different viewpoints about wellbeing to my own. It made me see that what is good for my wellbeing might not necessarily be the right thing for other people’s wellbeing.
The project was unpredictable and spontaneous, we explored different topics every week. This kept it interesting. It was nice to discuss different avenues of one topic. In general, the project was good for my wellbeing, the sessions gave me something to look forward to”, she continued.
Well done to all who took part! A selection of photo’s below:
In 2021 young Carers came together for creative writing workshops online, supported by James Witman to write their stories about experiences of being a young carer. When the book was published it was very well received and distributed to local schools and other professionals.
Get in touch if you would like a printed copy!
Young Carers Spoken Word: Document 01, as featured in Young Carers Stories
During this Social Action Project in 2021, young carers came together online for a series of virtual workshops. They voted on issues important to them, and decided they would like to create an anti bullying video, for both young people and schools. They recorded and designed the presentation virtually. Bullying is an issue many young carers have lived experience of, and they felt proud being given a platform to talk about and research the topic.
A group of young carers who identify as young women came together and formed a social action project to explore issues important to them.They decided to focus on empowering young women through a social media campaign. Do you experience pressure when using social media? How do you think women and girls can be supported online? Whilst the members of the group recognised there are positives of social media, and as the recent lockdowns show social media connects young people, helping to tackle loneliness, there are ways social media can have a negative affect on young people’s mental health.
The group designed a social media campaign incorporating positive affirmations, puzzles and images, to encourage young women and girls to feel empowered and valued. They even created their very own hashtag! #uniteyoungwomen. The campaign went live during 2021 October half term on North Tyneside Carers’ Centres social media channels.
In Autumn 2021 group of secondary age young carers got together to form a six week social action project to explore their experiences of the pandemic as young carers.
They decided to make a video. After discussions they recognised there were three main areas that affected them as young carers during the pandemic; school, mental health and family/caring responsibilities. They wrote about why these area affected them, took photos and edited the images together into a video.
Well done to everyone who was involved!
In the autumn of 201 four primary school aged young carers came together to form a six week social action project. The aim was to explore young carers experiences during the pandemic, they all discussed ways they could express how they felt and what was important to them during the last two years.
Some of the group said that “lockdown helped me spend more time with my family” others talked about finding home school and keeping up with online learning. “When lessons were about to start was the time I needed to do my caring jobs” one young person commented. They all agreed that it was a difficult time for them all, and something no one has experienced before.
The group decided to make a time capsule to document their experiences. They included stories and artwork, hand sanitiser, a face mask, toy ball to represent daily exercise, an NHS rainbow poster and newspaper cuttings.
The Young people were delighted to be invited to Silverlink Biodiversity Park by North Tyneside Council to attend the Covid reflection event and burry their time capsule at the unveiling of the first Covid contemplation area. Hopefully it will be dug up in years to come!
We facilitated social action training for young adult carers twice a year. Training sessions were for young people aged 16-20, offering them the opportunity to develop new skills including:
- Group work
- Understanding children’s rights
- Participation and communication skills.
We know that 16-20 is a very important time in a young person’s life. This training was created to equip young carers with transferable life skills that can be taken into further education or employment.
We now run a Young Adult Carers Group to ensure they are still supported. For more information and find out how you can join the group click here.
The Social Action Programme has now come to an end, however if you would like to be involved in Social Action and have an opportunity to have your say, we encourage you to join our Young Carers Forum. More information about Youth Forum can be found here