Over the week end of the 13th-15th March 14 young people aged 10 to 22 joined us at the Peace Centre in Warrington for a team building and agenda setting event. It was an incredible week end with all of the group working really hard and taking the whole event very seriously, and this was a s well as having to face up to a number of personal issues they faced as carers away from home, and the people they care for. This is two of their stories.
Paul wanted us to catch the Metro-link bus so he chased after it like a dog with a Frisbee. We got to Piccadilly Station and boarded a train to Warrington. For 20 minutes we endured Paul's photography and "twits" (tweets-social media) and made new friends!
We filled three taxis from the station to reach the peace centre. It was beautifully and everyone was delighted with the arrangements! The bedrooms were spacious, fancy and modern- Regan said she loved the "rainbow-y sheets"!
Friday night we chilled and got to know each other and then on Saturday Paul knocked on everyone's door at 7:30am (much too early for Saturday morning) and reminded us that breakfast was at 8:00. and at 10am team-building workshops with Ed from 42nd Street started.
Ed was very animated, cheerful and fun and he soon had us all laughing and taking part in silly antics- such as hypnotizing others with our palms! We began to work better as a team especially when a simple game of reflexes turned into serious business! At the end of the two hour session we made a poem from random words and had to say it out loud at the same time. I really enjoyed the morning as it got me active!
After lunch, or the "graveyard shift" as Ed called it, we reflected about ourselves and what we give to others such as trust, empathy and advice. We also designed the ideal holiday for young carer workers Paul and Myrthe, one reason why they couldn't go on the holiday and suggest solutions to overcome that. Finally, we made the slogan "Stand Together, Achieve Together" to show how we look after each other within the group.
On Sunday morning, our dorm slept in despite several alarms and rushed to breakfast with everyone else. People started to pack their bags and take off the bed sheets so we did likewise. Regan folded all our sheets as if they'd just come out the packet! She has horrified to see everyone else's crumpled bed sheets and actually re-folded them by herself! We all had vacated our rooms by 9:00am and I picked up my artwork for Mother's Day. Then, we had a meeting with Paul to discuss whether we'd like to become the official Young Carer's Board and which sub group we would like to join, such as media and businesses, education, fundraising or health. After a final photo and some lunch we left the centre to travel home.
Personally, I loved the weekend despite my anxiety at leaving my brother, mother and sister at home. I made new friends and really enjoyed myself! I would definitely recommend we return to the centre in summer too!
Antonia Rae (Written on the Friday Night)
I am very excited but the nerves are getting to me. Settling in with mu surroundings has been the hardest part so far because it is so different and so unique. Mt heart is in my throat because what if my mum falls, if she cannot get up, if she cannot reach the phone? This pressure is really getting to me, I feel like bursting out with tears because my mum is not here to talk to me, or me to care for her. She should be okay, well I hope so anyway. The bedroom is so strange compared to where I normally sleep.
Everyone here is so nice but sleeping away from home is a big challenge for me, I am 12 I have cared for my mum since I was 6 I have never been away from her before.