“There are not too many evenings at Royal Edward Lodge when we collect over £1000 for good causes,” said Charity Steward, Jason Sutton. “But it certainly was the case when we invited along some lovely people from the Young Carers Support Centre for Bristol & South Gloucestershire.
“WM, John Higgs, handed over a GMCA cheque for £200. To that was added a spontaneous whip-round of £315 by members and guests and a generous donation of £375 by Robert Dennehy on behalf of his company, making a total of £890. In addition, we collected £151 for masonic charities,” said Jason.
Kama McKenzie, the Young Carers Service Manager at Fishponds, gave lodge members a fascinating insight into how the charity operates; helping children and young persons aged from eight to eighteen who care for family members.
“A BBC survey discovered that one in five secondary school children provide care for others in their families,” she said.
Kama was speaking from experience. As a youngster, she had cared for her parents who were raising her along with four brothers and four sisters.
“A common factor we find is that parents don’t want help from their children,” she continued, “but disability, illness, substance-abuse and mental health issues create situations where there is no alternative. As
a charity, we help these young people who themselves often end up with health issues; especially stress-related ones.”
Kama explained how costly it was to run the charity. “We spent £18,000 on taxis alone last year. Yet OFSTED is removing Young Carers from ‘named groups’, so grants are being reduced.”
Kai and Nicole
Young carer, Kai, spoke about his mother being wheelchair-bound and his father having suffered a seizure. At the ages of 13 and 14, Kai had to clean, wash and cook for them, whilst also trying to do his school homework. He did not want his schoolfriends to know. Like most Young Carers, he lacked a social life. “When I was 14 or 15, my mother choked on food and I had to deal with it. I had to get the ambulance. You grow up quickly! It influenced my mental health. I suffered from depression and anxiety. I am now proud to be a volunteer with Bristol and South Glos Young Carers.”
Another proud volunteer with the charity is Nicole. She said that her father was a cancer sufferer. He also had mental health issues and was suicidal. “I had to stay home from school to look after him.” She said. “When I was 15, he overdosed.”
Finally, Kama paid tribute to Royal Edward Lodge’s previous support in funding two trips for the charity . . . to Harry Potter Studios and to Chessington Zoo.
Learn more about the charity . . . . https://www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/