Throughout 2018, young carers across Bath & North East Somerset have been taking part in a multi-arts project, designed to give them creative and social time away from their caring responsibilities.
The project was run by award-winning charity Create, as part of their national art:space programme.
Taking place in partnership with SouthGate Bath, and being funded by the shopping centre’s co-owner British Land, the young people involved were registered as young carers with Bath & North East Somerset Carers’ Centre.
Throughout 2018, the group explored a range of artforms with Create’s professional artists, enabling them to develop creative and social skills whilst taking some time away from their caring responsibilities.
Most recently, during the autumn half term, the youngsters created animations starring their own original characters with visual artist Chloe Cooper.
During the summer holidays, they explored Bath through a camera lens with filmmaking and photography workshops. This range of activities encouraged the young carers to develop a variety of interconnected artistic and technical skills, boosting their self-esteem.
By working together, the young people develop their communication skills and create peer-support networks.
There are approximately 3,000 young carers in Bath and North East Somerset, and over 700,000 in Britain as a whole, who on average take on 17 hours of caring responsibilities per week.
Some care for more than 50 hours each week. School holidays can be a difficult time for young carers. For many, without school’s daily routine, increased time at home equates to an increase in time caring for a relative.
Create’s Co-Founder & Chief Executive Nicky Goulder, said: “Participating in creative activities is a great way of expressing yourself and socialising.
“School holidays can be a period of heightened responsibility for young carers and it’s important for wellbeing that respite is found away from their duties as carers.
“Thanks to our partnership with British Land and SouthGate, our art:space programme offers an environment for self-expression, socialising, building confidence and having fun.”
Imogen, 12, a young carer who took part in the project, said: “It was good because we got to do the story and theme we wanted. It felt good just to get to do our own thing.
“Sometimes we have other creative things [at the Carers’ Centre in Bath] but this was a good one because it was learning stuff that we haven’t done before. You can learn more about how to use the equipment and use your imagination.
“I care for my younger brother and sister because they need a lot of help around the house when my mum’s doing things, so I’ve got to help them get changed and get ready for school and stuff.
“Being a young carer means that when my friends are going out I can’t always go with them because I’ve got to look after my brother and sister. Projects like this are good for young carers because you get to experience something new.”
art:space Bath ran between 31st July – 2nd August, 29th – 31st August, and 20th October – 2nd November 2018.