Dozens of young carers, from nine schools across the Lowestoft area, have taken part in a packed wellbeing day, led by Suffolk Family Carers.
The youngsters, aged between four and 15, were treated to sport sessions at the Water Lane Leisure Centre, and activities designed to boost self esteem and build new friendships.
The event was made possible as a result of a contribution made by councillor Steve Ardley, via the locality budget. Also present during the day were a number of professionals who work with young people currently experiencing ‘caring roles’, and representatives from the charity Suffolk Family Carers.
Sports leaders from Lowestoft College and Ormiston Denes encouraged the young carers to experience the climbing wall, basketball, short tennis, dodge ball, yoga, spinning and fun fitness.
Steve Ardley said: “Our aim was to bring together 100 young carers to meet like minded people, have fun, try new sports, and to enable them to recognise and manage wellbeing, as well as finding out about support services available to their family.”
Being a young carer is known to create a higher risk factor for the mental health of children and young people.
Terri Freeman, from Northfields St. Nicolas Academy, said of the event: “It was great to be part of a day that makes a difference to so many. I have a huge professional commitment to young carers but I also really admire their dedication.”
Mia, aged 12, who cares for her Mum with MS and arthritis, took part in abseiling from the climbing wall. She said: “I’m so proud of myself. I was really scared of having a go as I have never done anything like this before, but I did it, and it was really fun.”
Katie Meadows, from Suffolk Family Carers, commented: It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces.
“I thank everyone for taking part, getting to know each other and sharing new experiences together.”