We facilitate a Young Carers’ forum, which is held monthly. This is an opportunity for young carers to have a say in how things are run at North Tyneside Carers’ Centre and to have their voices heard. The forum are able to influence decision making about services for young carers at the Centre and are able to represent young carers views regionally. Important decision makers from schools, local organisations and our board of trustees are regularly invited to youth forum meetings allowing young carers to have their say.
Young Carers Forum members have explained in their own words what it means to be part of the forum:
“North Tyneside Carers’ Centre run a youth forum that represents young carers across North Tyneside. Any young carer who is registered with the Young Carers’ Project and is aged 11 – 18 is welcome to become a member. Youth forum is about making other young carers feel as though their voice is heard in the community and by North Tyneside Carers’ Centre. We make sure that young carers are all heard and when young carers attend the youth forum they will feel listened to. Without judgement, we are able to discuss issues that concern us, so that we can work together to make North Tyneside a better place for young carers. This makes young carers feel valued which is what we, as a youth forum, pride ourselves on.”
Things we have done
In lockdown it was recognised to give NHS workers and paid carers priority shopping hours to ensure they were able to get the supplies they need, and to beat the often long and stressful queues.
Many shops didn’t consider extending this shopping hour to unpaid carers, particularly young carers as many young people told us they were turned away from shops or unable to accompany the person they cared for. Youth forum decided to write to local MP’s highlighting this. They even got a reply from MP for Tynemouth, Alan Campbell.
Thanks to youth forums efforts, Asda at Benton agreed to include young carers in priority shopping. Changes can happen when you give young people a voice!
When there are job vacancies at the Carers Centre, we invite youth forum to sit on interview panels to help us recruit the right candidate to work with children and young people.
Breaks and Activities is an important part of our service offering young carers a much needed break from their caring role. Youth Forum keep Breaks and Activities as a main talking point on their agenda, so they can feedback what they’ve enjoyed, what has worked well and things they would like to be done differently.
The ultimate aim is to raise awareness of the issues young carers face, whether you want to campaign, produce podcasts, make videos or speak to decision makers. Youth forum is your platform to be heard.
Youth forum often have Tik Tok evenings, where they make videos to raise awareness of young carers, or just to have fun! Here they are teaching members of staff a (very easy!) Tik Tok dance.
Becoming Tik Tok famous!
@northtyneside_carers This week for #carersweek #youngcarers made our first Tik Tok videos! They taught the staff team a dance. What do you think? #youngcarerarersoftiktok ♬ Bongo cha-cha-cha – Remastered – Caterina Valente
Youth Forum are often invited to conferences and events to represent young carers and the Carers’ Centre around the region.
These having taken place recently due to the pandemic, but we can’t wait to represent young carers again! Just before lockdown, youth forum attended the anti racism conference at North Tyneside Council.
Youth forum often get opportunities for public speaking and to tell their story. Recently Youth Forum have spoken at North Tyneside Council’s Head Teachers Conference and at the Carers Week Conference.
They also produce podcasts where they interviewed key decision makers.
Youth Forum recently offered feedback and suggestions about the redesign of the Young Carers needs Assessments. They were listened to, and the Needs Assessment questions were reduced, alongside changing some of the wording to make them more accessible to young carers.
Every young carer in North Tyneside is entitled to a needs assesment which should be reviewed by your school every six months.
Youth Forum also designed the young carers survey which is sent out to young carers registered with us every year. The survey helps to identify key priorities for young carers over the coming year. Youth Forum presented the results of the survey to Director of Children and Adult Services at North Tyneside Council, Jacqui Old.
If you would like to join the Youth Forum please speak to a member of the young carers team.