Sessions that give young carers a chance for time out

Young carers Mackenzie Shaw and Ashton Lang, who say they love the activity sessions.
Young carers Mackenzie Shaw and Ashton Lang, who say they love the activity sessions.

Young carers in Mansfield and Ashfield who have to help look after their parents or siblings are being given the chance to relax at special sessions.

The sessions, which have been funded by Nottinghamshire County Council and health partners, offer help, advice and activities, such as bowling, archery and ice skating.

The idea is to give the youngsters a break from their caring duties. Sessions, which take place after school hours and during school holidays, are held at the Lammas Leisure Centre in Sutton and at the Westfield Folkhouse young people’s centre in Mansfield.

Two youngsters benefiting are 15-year-old Mackenzie Shaw, of Sutton, who helps to care for her brother, and nine-year-old Ashton Lang, of Mansfield, who helps to look after his mum.

Mackenzie said: “I have made friends with other carers and we share tips. I like the skating trips best, but the sessions can be educational too. We have even done a first-aid course. My brother has autism, ADHD and epilepsy. I’m helping out more now because my older sister has gone to university, so it’s good to have some time doing fun stuff.”

Ashton said: “I like all the activities, and I’ve made lots of friends. I help my mum get around places and we can’t always do the stuff we do at the sessions.”

The council and health partners have invested £50,000 across the county in the scheme, which is overseen by the Carers Trust East Midlands.

Coun Stuart Wallace said: “Young carers often feel isolated because most of their friends don’t have the same responsibilities. So these sessions are important to give them time away and meet people in a similar position.”