Young carers off to meet the PM
Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:37 pm
Norfolk's young carers to meet Prime Minister Three young carers from Norfolk are to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss the issues and challenges affecting their lives. Tanya Jones, 14, James Kirk, 15, and Reece Nixon, 16, will meet with Gordon Brown tomorrow (Wednesday 5 December ) as part of a visit organised by the national Young Carers' Forum.The newly created forum has just 16 members, with Norfolk's youngsters representing nearly a fifth of the group's make-up. Christine Comacle-Smith and Cath Thomas from Crossroads Norfolk Young Carers' Project will accompany Tanya, James and Reece on their trip. Six other members of the Young Carers' Forum will also join them.Tanya, James and Reece are all dedicated young carers. Tanya cares for her mother, James cares for his mother and six siblings and Reece looks after his sister. Norfolk is proactive in its work with young carers and, over the last year, Norfolk County Council has been working closely with the voluntary sector to help engage and support young carers. Norfolk County Council also delivers central government's Carers' grant to services across the county, including the Crossroads Norfolk Young Carers' Project.The Project started in 2003 and has supported nearly 800 young carers aged from four to 18.It provides advocacy, emotional and practical support to young carers on all aspects of daily living affected by their caring responsibilities. It also enables young carers to have a break from their caring tasks by enjoying leisure and cultural pursuits. Christine Comacle-Smith, senior project officer for Crossroads, said: "Young carers' lives are affected by their caring responsibilities. They often feel isolated and also would like a life of their own. Next week Tanya, James and Reece will have the very important role of representing the views of young carers nationally and particularly of Norfolk and have strong messages to take to the Prime Minister and MPs.They would like more help that is reliable at home to care for the person who is being looked after, more understanding at school among pupils and teachers, more funding for young carers projects and better equipment and facilities to support the family." Tomorrow, the group will watch Prime Minster's Questions and will tour the Houses of Parliament, before attending a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Carers. he highlight of the day will be their meeting with Gordon Brown. The meeting with the All Party Parliamentary Group follows a national carers' conference in London earlier this year, where Norfolk youngster Reece Nixon gave a passionate speech.Barbara Keeley MP also spoke at the event and is one of the parliamentary group's vice chairs. Rosalie Monbiot, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "It is brilliant that Norfolk's young carers are so strongly represented on the newly created Young Carers' Forum."We should be really proud of these youngsters, who are working so very hard to make a difference to the lives of the many youngsters across the country who are caring for a member of their family."I hope this event helps raise awareness of the difficulties faced by these young people and keeps this issue at the forefront of people's minds."