On the 4th August the Young & Young Adult Carers Board hosted a question time event at Swinton Civic Centre. The panel members were: Paul Dennett (Salford City Mayor), Cllr Lisa Stone (Lead Member for Children & Young People’s Services), Cllr John Walsh (Executive Lead for Education & Skills) and Paul Moran (Salford Carers Centre Manager). The session was chaired by Lynne Stafford (CEO of Gaddum Centre).

The Board asked some challenging questions and opened with bang when Kerry asked the panellists their understanding of what being a carer means and 5 tasks that a carer would do on an average day. Paul Dennett explained that alongside practical tasks such as cleaning, cooking, getting prescriptions and shopping that he understood carers take a role in providing emotional support. Cllr Stone explained that some carers do cooking, but every carer does helping and what they help with depends on every carer and the person they care for. Paul Moran, who manages the carers centre, then said it’s important that we talk about the things carers are sometimes embarrassed about such as bathing and helping the person they care for go to the toilet.

The questions then varied from questions about the pricing of leisure facilities in Salford, to questioning whether carers are included in the City Mayor’s Employment Charter, to specific questions about support for young and young adult carers in colleges/schools and how to get around the problems young carers have in managing finances and banking for the person or people they care for. 

The board also questioned the change in carers support from personal breaks to personal budgets, as with this change, young carers have lost funding for respite. It was highlighted how it is unfair that adult carers can get a personal budget to take a break but young carers must rely on charity for their well deserved breaks, and the City Mayor was clear that he found this unacceptable and suggested it be turned into a campaign.

The Board then went to ask Paul Moran about changes to the activities run by Salford Young Carers Service and what he thinks the service will look like in 2020, then end ed by asking the Mayor, & Cllr Stone, what they want to have achieved by 2020.

The Board were really pleased with the outcome of the event and look forward to working further with the panellists during their time in office to give a voice to all young carers in Salford to ensure that young carers not only get all the support they need, whether from this service, schools, GPs, etc., but also that when they do get that help it’s of good quality.

Something that City Mayor Paul Dennett said during the meeting seems to sum up perfectly the situation young carers have in Salford ‘although in Salford we are renowned for our carer’s services, there’s still a long way to go’. As a City, we absolutely have to improve how we identify and support young carers, especially in finding hidden carers, but we are very fortunate to have a group of young carers ready to help shape and influence the way the City improves and tailors services for them.