Hello everyone,

Although we haven’t posted on here for a while, it does not mean that we have not been busy funding some fantastic activities for West Berkshire Young Carers. The applications for funding have been coming to us regularly from Joe and the Young Carers and from our recent batch of applications it looks like the fun is set to continue. Joe is doing a fantastic job with these deserving children and it’s wonderful that they are coming up with their own ideas on how we can best support them in their ‘time-out’ time.

Young Carers still need all our support. It’s not a role that you can grow out of, or opt out of. Young Carers manage this role alongside full time education, social interaction and social isolation, loneliness, worry and uncertainty and can encounter a range of difficulties and prejudices in daily life. We are as committed as ever to make sure that at the very least, the Young Carers in our area have some much needed and well deserved breaks from their caring roles.

From your Trustees – Friends of Young Carers (West Berkshire)

Alison, Anna, Barbara, Elaine, Janice, Jo and Lynne.


 Fire Break  

Eight young carers have successfully completed Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (RBFRS’) FireBreak course, which was commissioned by Berkshire Carers. The four-day course ran between Monday, 23 July, and Thursday, 26 July at Mortimer Fire Station. The course culminated in the young people showing their skills in front of proud friends, family members and guardians.

FireBreak is a programme designed for young people between the ages of 12 and 16, specifically designed for those who may be struggling with low self-esteem or lack of confidence. The programme provides them with a safe learning environment to develop self-motivation, discipline and confidence and communication skills.

Throughout the course, the participants took part in a range of physical sessions, which included; how to use the breathing apparatus and first aid training, as well as learning how to use the fire engine equipment. These activities were supported by the classroom sessions which focused on fire safety, building self-esteem and moral reasoning. They were also given the opportunity to reflect on their experiences with the support of a mentor at the end of each day.

On the final day, the young carers showcased their new skills. Live demonstrations were performed in front of friends, family and representatives from Berkshire Young Carers. Some of the highlights included a demonstration where they responded to a fire in a tower, and speeches telling their friends and family what they’d learned during the course. All the participants were awarded a certificate by the Chief Fire Officer, Trevor Ferguson, in recognition of their achievements.

Some of the young carers who completed the course said:

“I enjoyed everything about this course. My favourite thing was the delivery hose and all the relays because I’m really competitive.  Everyone was really nice and after this course I actually really want to be a firefighter when I grow up because I absolutely loved it.”

“This week I enjoyed the BA [breathing apparatus] set. What I am proud of is getting through the BA course and I am also proud of this course because it will help with my future career.”

FireBreak Instructor, Felicity Screen, said: “It’s been really great to see the group grow in confidence throughout the four days and we are all so proud of their accomplishments. We tailor the sessions to the individual needs of the cohort so we can ensure they get the most out of the course. We’re also very grateful to West Berkshire Young Carers for supporting this course.”

 Chilling Bench/ Young Carers Festival

3 young carers chilling at the Young Carers Festival

Run by YMCA Fairthorne Manor and The Children’s Society, Young Carers Festivals (YCF) are part of the process of recognising, informing and consulting with young carers to make sure they are listened to.

YCF provides the opportunity for young carers from across the UK to get their voices heard about the changes they want and communicating their ideas to the Government.

Since the first Young Carers Festival in 2000 when 600 young carers arrived at YMCA Fairthorne Manor in Hampshire, the festival has grown. Now as many as 1,800 young carers attend each year!

The festival provides young people with the opportunity to have fun, relax, socialise and have their voices heard about issues that affect them.

Each year the charity Friends of Young Carers pay for a group of young carers from West Berkshire go to the Festival to enjoy a weekend of fun and activities.

 Lamb/ Rushall Farm

West Berkshire Young Carers Project took a group of 9 young carers to Rushall Farm. The young carers had a fantastic day, they took part in River Dipping, they spent time with the animals and had the opportunity to try out Bush Craft. The young carers loved getting close to nature and spending time outdoors. The trip was funded by Friends of Young Carers West Berkshire.

 Climbing/ Adrenaline Trio

West Berkshire Young Carers Project took a group of 8 young carers to an activity centre called Unique Outdoors, which is situated near Reading. The young carers had the opportunity to take part in a trio of activities. The first was a Leap of Faith, The participants  jumped from about 50 ft and experienced a close to free fall sensation whilst safely being supported by a full body harness! The second activity was a climbing wall, the young carers used their skills of perseverance to ascend to the top of the wall. Finally, the young carers took part in the trapeze, the participants climbed the 9m high pole. Once they reached the platform they then had  to leap and try to catch the trapeze bar! The day was generously funded by the charity Friends of Young Carers West Berkshire.

Picture 5 Archery and Laser Quest

West Berkshire Young Carers Project took a group of 8 young carers to an activity centre called Unique Outdoors, which is situated near Reading. The participants took part in two activities. The first was Archery, they experienced the skillful art of propelling arrows with the use of a recurve bow. The second activity was Laser Quest, using high-tech laser guns, the participants pitted their wits against each other in a test of skill and cunning in the woods. Their 2 hour laser combat session was divided into a number of different games, so they could try different strategies and tactics. The day was generously funded by the charity Friends of Young Carers West Berkshire.

More photos soon!!

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