Crossroads Youn Carers continue their summer of fun

Mags Todd and Mo Newlands from Young Carers Cowal and Bute help raise money during a ferries bucket collection.
Mags Todd and Mo Newlands from Young Carers Cowal and Bute help raise money during a ferries bucket collection.

A vital service providing respite for young carers has pulled off a bumper summer of activities after receiving £1/2 million funding.

During the summer holidays, Crossroads Young Carers, Cowal & Bute, organised a programme of fun for the youngsters, aged 5 to 24.

Aimed at giving children and young people a break from their role as carers, the fun days were also planned by them and included a trip to Glasgwo Science Museum as well as some more active pursuits such as bowling, climbing, areoball, ice skating and archery.

Predominantly funded by the Big Lottery, the £500,000 will keep the Young Carers project going for five years. “That sounds a lot,” said Christine West, co-ordinator of the umbrella group Crossroads Caring for Carers. “But that is only £100,000 a year and then we need to think about how we are going to get further funding.”

Helping buoy the bank balance was an annual charity collection with volunteers shaking buckets on the Western Ferries. “Through the generosity of the public we raised £1238.91. This would not have been possible without the hard work of our volunteers and the co-operation of the crew,” Christine added. Initial feedback from the young carers and parents has been extremely positive and Mags Todd, co-ordinator said: “The children are at the centre of what we are doing – the funding has been awarded for them – so they are very involved in the process of planning and having a say in what we do and where are going.”

The Crossroads Young Carers team was started in March with the aim of giving children who occupy a caring role at home, a chance for respite away from those responsibilities. Mags said: “The essence of what we do is give them a break from that role. They could be caring for a parent, grandparent or perhaps a sibling who has autism and perhaps they can’t be loud or noisy or run around at home. When they are with us it is all about having fun, being with their peers, who are perhaps in a similar situation. But it is about having a bit of a break whatever that may be.” An information night will be held on Bute on Wednesday, October 5 in the Discovery Centre where any member of the public can drop-in from 4-6.30pm to find more about what the service is, who is eligible and how to be referred.

A service to support all carers is also available and those who would like to find out more can go to the Green Tree cafe on the first Wednesday of the month from 2-4pm.