CYC Covid-19 Review

Page 1


1 YEAR ON...


COVID-19 PROJECT REVIEW ... 1 YEAR ON Looking back at the 12 months since the first lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic, it has clearly been very challenging for just about everybody in society. In my view this is particularly true of young carers and their families across Cheshire who have had to navigate the danger of catching COVID-19, the increased levels of isolation and anxiety, the challenge of home schooling and the impact that this has on their caring role within each family. I am immensely proud of all our young carers and their families for the way they have approached the challenges of COVID-19 and for tackling the many challenges that have been put in their way. At the same time, I am very proud of the staff team at Cheshire Young Carers who have worked throughout the pandemic, finding new ways to support young carers and their families. At the very early stages of the pandemic the Cheshire Young Carers board took a strategic decision to continue supporting young carers and families in whatever way the legislation at any particular time would permit. This included declining the opportunity to furlough any staff because our belief was that demand for our services was going to increase not decrease as a result of COVID-19. In reality we actually increased the number of staff working for the organisation to better support young carers and their families. In practical terms this has meant investing in technology, providing the skills training for staff to make best use of the new technology and then the staff team working together to provide innovative, exciting and engaging activities and events for young carers. The decision to continue with all of our services was only possible because of generous support from a range of donors who are listed on the right, and we are immensely grateful for their ongoing support and confidence in our work to support young carers and families. However, it is also true that implementing this plan has had a significant impact on the financial resources of the organisation, including utilising most of our reserves. Therefore, there is an ongoing challenge for Cheshire Young Carers to continue funding all the services we currently provide. This review of our Covid-19 year is designed to reflect on our work and commitment to young carers. It has been an extraordinary year and the whole team are incredibly proud of our young carers and families. Moving forward we stand ready to support you through the next 12 months. Thank you,

Graham Phillips Graham Phillips CEO Cheshire Young Carers


SOME OF OUR COVID-19 HIGHLIGHTS Online session with Gareth Aled the Puppet Director from the National Theatre talking about Warhorse Bingo, Quizzes and Game Show Nights have proved to be popular with young carers and families.

Online session with Owen Farrell England Rugby Captain talking about rugby and leadership

Alpaca Walking proved a popular outdoor activity between national lockdowns

Family Cooking sessions are always popular with young carers learning how to cook delicious healthy food; of course, the baking sessions are not quite as healthy but just as popular!

With special thanks to our Covid-19 funders:

ACTIVITY RESPITE PROGRAMME Regular Drop in Sessions These sessions operate in a number of centres across Cheshire on a bi-weekly basis. They are designed to offer young carers engaging activities that are fun and to crucially help break down isolation amongst young carers. YAC Programme (Teenagers) The young adult carers (YAC) programme is for our teenager cohort. It is designed to provide stimulating activities that they plan themselves, to create like-minded friendship groups and to improve independence amongst this age group.

Residential Experiences These are always the most valued experiences for young carers and within the funds available we try to provide as many of these as possible. They take significant staff resources and tend to be expensive, but the feedback is always staggeringly positive.

School Respite Clubs To support pupils who are young carers, a network of school clubs is being established either in school time or as “after school” clubs. School Holiday Programmes These programmes have been designed to overcome a key period of stress for young carers when they can be expected to provide 24/7 support. Our focus on this area is a direct result of feedback from young carers. We now offer activity programmes during every school holiday period with a variety of activities based around Cheshire and on many occasions provide meals. In To Work Programme This complements our YAC programme by taking small groups of teenagers into places of work with the aim of broadening their horizons, showing them different employment opportunities, and encouraging them to focus on educational attainment to achieve their life goals.


Our final face to face session took place a few days before the first lockdown as venues closed and we were unable to continue meeting with young carers. The team spent the final few days in the office cancelling the trips we had planned for Easter, putting together the first of our activity packs and packing envelopes with Easter activities, crafts and treats. As the team moved to working from home it was time to work out how we could adapt our respite programme to virtual delivery.

Regular Drop in Sessions At first our virtual sessions, we continued to deliver sessions at the same time young carers would normally meet. Attendance numbers were low, however it enabled us to try different ways of delivery, new technology and to speak to young carers about what activities they wanted us to provide. By July we had moved sessions to Zoom which helped to increase engagement. After the summer holidays we adapted the sessions; all young carers across Cheshire were invited to join sessions which followed a consistent programme. Sessions moved to weekly delivery.

It called for innovation! Time Out Tuesdays are all about enriching our young carers with new skills or developing a skill. Family cooking sessions, outreach sessions with Manchester United, England Rugby Union and sessions with different animal charities. Wacky Wednesdays have become our social nights with young carers of all ages joining in with games and activities in a fun and informal atmosphere helping develop new skills. Trivia Thursdays have become popular family activities with Bingo and Quiz nights alternating each week and prizes sent out to the winners.

ACTIVITIES IN A COVID WORLD YAC Programme Our Young Adult Carers (YACs) have continued to meet in virtual sessions and they have also joined some of the activity sessions with the younger groups. Some of the YACs have been working on the ASDAN Expressive Arts Course during lockdown. School Holiday Programmes We decided to link the holiday respite programmes and digital activity packs to different themes. For our Summer Festival we were able to deliver 128 online workshops with young carers based on the weekly themes of Beach, Circus, Pirates, Superheroes, Robots and Safari. The programme included virtual workshops on animation, photography, watercolour and acrylic painting, face painting, coding, drumming, creative writing, and juggling. Wellbeing Wednesday workshops helped to promote positive mental health, followed by a yoga session. Outreach workshops from Chester Zoo, Knowsley Safari Park and Gauntlet Birds of Prey Centre were part of Safari week. We held weekly, healthy family cooking sessions. October half term was our Halloween festival. Christmas holidays were a blended activity programme. Young carers were delighted to visit Blue Planet Aquarium, Gauntlet Birds of Prey Centre and to take part in a woodland walk through the lights at Blakemere. Virtual workshops included baking, crafts, dance and drama. We had virtual outreach sessions with a Husky Dog Rescue Centre and the Welsh Mountain Zoo. All the families were sent a link to watch the virtual Panto featuring Peter Duncan as Dame Trott.



holiday respite sessions


regular evening drop in sessions held during term time


activity packs delivered to young carers as part of our Easter, Summer and Christmas holiday programmes


engagements with young carers


hours of fun with young carers



digital activity packs created


digital activity packs sent via email to young carers.

National lockdowns required Cheshire Young Carers to move online to support our young carers. It required the team to learn new skills, an investment in technology, measures to make sure young carers could access technology and then inspired content to keep young carers engaged.

Digital Activity Packs: At the start of lockdown, we discovered a hidden talent in one of the new members of our team. Our programmes and activities were brought to life with some amazing artwork and this included producing 18 digital activity packs each with a different theme containing craft activities, stories and games.

Welfare Animations: To support the welfare of young carers a series of animated videos have been created to support positive mental wellbeing with strategies that we know some young carers and families have found really useful.


impressions of the videos posted on the Cheshire Young Carers TikTok Channel

You can find the animated videos here;

Cheshire Young Carers Youtube Channel: The Wellbeing Playlist




Many young carers simply want to meet their young carer friends face to face so as we move out of lockdown, Cheshire Young Carers have a programme of activities ready to go when it’s safe to deliver them. We have discovered that some young people prefer to engage online, at least in the first instance until they create friendships with other young carers. As restrictions ease and we return to more face to face delivery we will still continue our most popular virtual activities - yes bingo is here to stay!

videos on TikTok and Youtube

impressions of the videos posted Youtube


Cheshire Young Carers delivers various services but has a single vision – to improve the lives of young carers across Cheshire. There are various forms of support that we deliver, and the lives of some young carers can be very demanding and complex, which often requires targeted support. This type of help traditionally takes place through the following ways:

Welfare Support Young carers and their families often have worries or feel that they do not know where or how they can access support. Cheshire Young Carers often provide a listening ear, help families to access other services, and give them reassurance that the life of their young carer can be improved, with the right support.

Responding to concerns Young carers or their family sometimes raise concerns with our staff, which is all part of protecting the welfare of young carers. This may mean attending child protection conferences or helping a family understand risky behaviours or speaking directly to a young carer when they truly need help. Cheshire Young Carers’ staff help young carers and their families recognise concerns relating to their child and assisting when we identify issues that may impact a young carer’s life. Professional support Working with other professionals and organisations to ensure young carers are able to get the best possible support. This can be working with schools to ensure they understand a young carer’s perspective or helping professionals to listen to the voice of a young carer, ensuring that their views and needs are understood and supported.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE! As hundreds of young carers and their families gradually come out of this unprecedented isolation, returning to busy schools, facing new challenges and experiences, Cheshire Young Carers shall continue to support them and help them navigate this new journey.

HEALTH AND WELFARE IN A COVID WORLD Following the emergence of COVID-19 and the various lockdowns and restrictions imposed upon young carers and their families, there were huge changes for many children. Many of the ways it impacted young carers in negative ways were isolation and loneliness, anxiety, worry and stress, financial strains, family tensions and worsening mental health.

It called for innovation! Cheshire Young Carers launched a Triage Team to provide regular contact with young carers and their families, trained to identify and positively respond to any concerns or ways that we could support.


Delivering direct one to one work ranging from exploring anxiety, anger, grief, understanding very complex phobias and managing emotions

Educating young carers:

Group wellbeing sessions and individual support to help young carers to identify, understand and respond to common mental health issues such as stress, exam pressures, and negative impacts of feelings or thoughts

Transitional support:

Helping young carers who have moved to high school from primary school within this period. This has helped young carers reduce worries about a new school, making friends, who to talk to for support and given school more understanding of how to best support young carers who are new to their school.

Welfare checks:

Regular proactive dialogue between ourselves and young carers has allowed us to direct support to young carers and families.

Pointing families in the right direction:

Signposting families to organisations that have helped them to reduce the issues faced during such unprecedented times, there have been some real positive changes, both short-term and long-term, within the lived-in experiences of young carers.

Professional development:

We continue to support our team with professional development around a range of relevant topics including mental wellbeing, bereavement, personcentred working in relation to trauma, alongside frequent supervision to help to deliver tailored support and the best possible outcomes.



young carers have been contacted as part of our welfare checks


young carers directly supported by our Triage Support Team who offered support to young carers and their families


young carers accessed regular direct support from our welfare team


young carers carers were invited to transition sessions to help reduce young carers’ stress or anxiety around moving to high school


young carers were regularly supported through contact from our team


wellbeing videos have been scripted and created by Cheshire Young Carers



Step to support pupils who are young carers; Plan

1 2 3


Work with schools to help you identify and support pupils who are young carers


Our unique “Assessment Tool” provides schools with a practical means of quantifying the amount of care a young carer is undertaking so that you can tailor support on an individual basis; thereby improving educational outcomes.


The information from the assessment tool to devise a pupil centered action plan to support each pupil with simple, time limited strategies designed to generate a significant increase in educational outcomes.

Without COVID-19 this how we would deliver our free solution to schools: Step One - Identify

Initial meeting This is to discuss the numbers of pupils who are young carers in your school, including the hidden young carers. Staff Briefing Working with your staff team, this step helps everybody to understand • How to identify a young carer • Why young carers may be hidden • What might a young carer be doing in their caring role • The impact the caring role can have on attendance and educational outcomes • The FIVE free things any school can do to support young carers • The FREE support available from Cheshire Young Carers

Step Two - Assess

Our educational assessment consists of structured questions that estimate the amount of care that a pupil undertakes and translates this into an impact measure on their potential educational attainment. The process is conducted by one of our highly trained education support officers who all come with a background in education. The result is a report that estimates the impact of their caring role on their education with simple action.

Step Three - Action Plan

Using the information from the assessment tool, a pupil centred action plan can then be developed to support each pupil with simple, time limited strategies designed to generate a significant increase in educational outcomes.



As the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, schools were forced to close and develop new skills to support remote learning for their pupils (home schooling). The impact on our delivery model was profound with the education team unable to visit schools, meet pupils who were young carers, and this was before we looked at the challenge of supporting these children, many of whom feel isolated anyway.

...It called for innovation! Our whole programme was changed to a virtual delivery model. Assemblies and staff briefings were developed and pre-recorded for teachers to deliver in school or as part of their remote learning resources. The PSHE programme that supports both teachers and pupils to understand the impact of a caring role on children has been reimagined to better match the National Curriculum and can now be delivered on a virtual platform. The cornerstone of our education support for schools are the education assessments of young carers which would usually be conducted face to face. These are being transformed into a digital tool so that this important work can continue.

On-line assemblies for high schools have been created and special resources developed for primary schools that can be delivered in class by the teacher.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE! The team are ready to fully engage with schools to deliver our “no cost” support package with the aim of positively impacting the life chances of pupils, who happen to be young carers.



virtual staff briefings to help schools identify and support pupils who are young carers


digital education assessments completed meaning all these pupils now have a plan to help improve their educational outcomes at GCSE


virtual assemblies reaching


pupils with information about the challenges of being a young carer


virtual meetings with schools to explain the support programme


CHESHIRE YOUNG CARERS Registered Charity no. 1151399 Northern Lights Business Park, Rossfield Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 3AW

Tel: 0151 356 3176 @cheshireyoungcarers



Cheshire Young Carers Cheshire Young Carers

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.