How would it feel if you could put yourself in the shoes of a young carer?
W Bro Gary Neilson reports -
Many of us find ourselves caring for a sick or disabled parent or sibling at some point in our life. Normally, we find ourselves dealing with this life challenge when we are adults with the maturity, emotional stability and financial wherewithal to be able to cope with the stress and anxiety of the caring demands.
Now, imagine you are an 11-year-old boy whose mother has a heart condition, poor mobility and sleep apnoea. She needs you to do the daily shopping, cleaning and help her with her medication.
She needs you to be there when the panic attacks kick in, to comfort and reassure her. You worry every minute you are not with mum. You cannot concentrate at school. You are a bright child, but your grades are very poor. You are a sociable child but find yourself withdrawing from play and unable to make or keep friends. You just want to be with mum because she needs you, more than anything to see that she is safe and you need that reassurance every minute of the day.
This story is not from the imagination, it is real life!
It is not typical of the thousands of young carers Honeypot supports because every young carer has their own unique story and challenges in life. What is common amongst these children however, are the detrimental side effects that result from caring for a sick relative. These include poor mental/physical health, educational underachievement, poverty, underdeveloped social skills, and a loss of all those happy childhood memories that sustain an individual throughout their life.
For over 25 years, Honeypot has tackled the stresses that young carers living in inner city London estates experience by providing them with respite breaks at a beautiful house in the New Forest, Hampshire. Throughout their stay, the Honeypot Playleaders build the children’s confidence and sense of self-worth. After this experience the young carers leave Honeypot confident and refreshed.
Honeypot provides a comprehensive range of Wrap Round Support Services, consisting of ten highly impactful, life changing services. Included within these Wrap Round Services is their Social and Emotional Active Learning (SEAL), which builds a child’s resilience and self-belief that they can, and will, succeed in education. At present, 38% of all Young Carers become NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) when they leave school.
Their life chances are severely limited and they face a future of poverty and deprivation. Through SEAL, combined with our other services, Honeypot aims to help young carers have a healthy, productive and fulfilling future.
London Freemasons’ grants have funded a large number of children with a table and chair to sit at to do their homework, a grant for ballet lessons, a sibling’s new bed and many, many more items.
Honeypot charity, in collaboration with the London Freemasons’ grants and through our new partnership, are committed to putting young carers on a pathway to a brighter future.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 45 July 2021 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 45.