The tradition of giving and receiving gifts during the festive period means there is no better time to celebrate the act of giving.
As a family that values generosity and aims to encourage and celebrate giving, the Foundation’s Trustees each year identify a group of small, community-based charities to receive an unsolicited donation, with the aim of providing a seasonal boost. The annual theme is decided by the Trustees and is separate from the Foundation’s strategic funding areas. Previous years’ themes include homelessness, lunch clubs to reduce social isolation in old age, and inclusive leisure activities for children with disabilities.
This year the Trustees decided to support young carers. In the UK today, an estimated 700,000 children and young people help look after a sibling, parent or other family member who because of illness, disability or drug or alcohol misuse needs help with everyday tasks. Caring for a loved one can be a positive experience but can also have a big impact on the things that are important growing up. Young carers are a particularly vulnerable group of pupils, with significantly lower educational attainment than their peers. According to the Carers Trust, 1 in 20 young carers miss school because of their caring role. Having to cope with adult responsibilities at a young age can also seriously affect future wellbeing: in a recent survey, 45% of young adult carers reported a mental health problem.
The seasonal emphasis on family activities, meals and presents can make Christmas one of the most difficult times of the year with problems feeling magnified. For many young carers, Christmas time brings added responsibilities, with the effects of caring causing extra stress and anxiety. So that more young carers can be identified and receive much needed support, we have donated £120,000 in total to seventeen charities across the UK. Recipients include:
Sheffield Young Carers: A small charity that aims to reduce the impacts of caring for young carers by building their confidence and resilience, and improving their health and well-being. This is done through one-to-one support, group support, respite breaks, holidays, support with education, employment, training and transition, and by using a whole family approach to promote positive, long-term changes.
MyTIME: An outdoor centre that allows young carers across Dorset and the UK to take a break and have fun with others in a similar position, sharing experiences and finding support. This small charity also provides mentoring and education.
Sibs: National charity for people who grow up with or have a grown up with a disabled brother or sister. The Foundation’s donation is to YoungSibs, a part of the charity that helps young siblings in the UK age 6 to 17 by providing information and a forum for young siblings to support each other.
East Lothian Young Carers: A small charity working with young carers aged 5 to 24 and their families in East Lothian, Scotland, supporting young carers to enjoy their childhood alongside their caring roles.
Photo posed by models and © Carers Trust