Two Hartlepool-based charities have marked Young Carers Action Day by remembering a successful fundraising push that made dreams come true.
This time last year Hartlepool Carers helped the PFC Trust and its founder Frances Connolly raise £50,000 for a respite caravan as part of the UChangeLives 25 campaign.
The caravan is situated at Parkdean Resort’s Cresswell Towers in Northumberland and provides an invaluable escape from everyday life to many young carers and their families.
Bookings are already largely filled for this year too and, ahead of Young Carers Action Day on March 16, Hartlepool Carers’ CEO Christine Fewster has described just how important such an experience can help those involved.
Christine said: “Since getting the keys last year, the impact the caravan has made to families’ lives has been superb.
“More than 35 families enjoyed a break away between June and December 2021. Families really enjoy the location, as it is not too far away from Hartlepool, but far enough to make it feel like a true break.
“We already have 75 per cent booked for the 2022 season and have 12 Young Carer breaks planned independently from their families. All the families have given us positive feedback and many have booked up again for a return!”
Last year to coincide with the Action Day the PFC Trust spearheaded a fundraising drive to raise the money for the caravan. In the end a second caravan was purchased for Stockton’s Eastern Ravens carers group.
Fundraisers were asked to take part in activities centred around the number 25, which is the average number of hours every week that a Young Carer does unpaid to look after someone.
The PFC Trust's Co-Founder Frances Connolly said: "We always support groups that have a positive, constructive and ongoing impact on the community.
"Carers are close to my heart as I myself need some help. They do a wonderful job that often gets overlooked as it is unpaid so they need and deserve ongoing support for all of us. We must all do what little we can."
And Christine added: “We remain immensely grateful to everyone involved who raised funds to make our charity’s dream happen.
“Without the PFC Trust we would still be dreaming! PFC Trust made it happen and our amazing community jumped on board to support completing many challenges across the world. We can’t thank everyone enough.
“The respite caravan has three bedrooms (one double and two twin rooms) with additional sleeping space in the open plan living room. It has a fully equipped kitchen, WC and separate toilet and shower-room. We also have a beautiful, decked area with ramp access and one parking space for the caravan.
“The caravan is available to Young Carers and their families at reduced cost to enjoy time away from their caring roles.”
Many carers will be paying a visit to Hartlepool Central Hub, York Road, between 4-5.30pm on Wednesday, March 16 for a community event highlighting the incredible work that young carers do. There will be plenty going on and a light buffet too.
Christine said: “We will be sharing information about services for young carers, what is working well for young carers in Hartlepool and most importantly hearing from young carers themselves and their dreams and aspirations.
“Young Carers Action Day is an annual event, organised by Carers Trust and Carers Organisations. It has taken place over the last seven years to raise awareness of young carers and the incredible contribution they make to their families and local communities.
“We want to ensure the voice of young carers is at the heart of planning to ensure services are developed to meet their needs.”
To book a place at the community event please use the following link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/young-carers-action-day-tickets-267110934997