A Brilliant Young Carers Conference

myt

I had the honour of addressing delegates at the recent Young Carers Conference, hosted by the Medway Youth Trust and held at the Innovation Centre in Chatham.

I am photographed above with members of the MYT team who are leading on the project.

Here is my address:

Before I start, I’d just like to reassure you, that whilst this is a subject in which I could speak for hours, I have limited myself, to a couple of minutes. But, I would like to reiterate what a privilege it is to be speaking to you today.

My role as lead member for Children’s Services is that of strategic responsibility, but I believe that it is frankly dangerous to let strategic direction be governed solely by faceless statistics. Whilst we know that the caring role can build self-confidence and esteem as well as instilling the values of responsibility, it is also imperative to remember that being a young carer is not without it’s challenges. Some of these challenges will be universal, such as time-management and missing out on activities, but some will vary from carer to carer. The onus is on us as professionals to work with our young colleagues to support them, taking into account their individual circumstances, which by definition may differ one individual and family to another.

As you know that Medway Council re-commissioned a Young Carer service in July 2014 and we awarded the contract to Medway Youth Trust. I think I speak for everyone here, when I say that MYT has delivered for Young Carers across Medway and the values that they hold dear mirror those that I personally support and just laid out. However, there are priorities for the future. MYT are working in partnership with Carers First to ensure more holistic support is accessible within the communities and schools. We are also delving deeper to get a more accurate understanding of the numbers of young carers across Medway. Though it should be emphasised that there is a face to each number on the page and a history. We also fear that there are young carers who do not know the extent of support that they can access, aside from leading to incomplete stats, if we don’t know about the work that they are doing, we can’t help.

Moving forwards then, I have spoken a little bit about the values that I personally champion and know that in MYT, the Council has a partner that is not content with complacency  and will strive for the very best that we can deliver. Ends

 

There followed a brilliant conference with presentations and of course, the important networking amongst partners.

My congratulation and thanks to Medway Youth Trust for hosting the event.

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