The young carers card campaign, which Harry and the Youth Parliament have been heavily involved in for over a year now, came together at the Sheffield Hallam Student Union on Thursday 24th March to discuss all aspects of the project so far. The conference was organised by VOYCE (Views of Young Carers Explained) and invited the Youth Parliament, Sheffield Schools, Sheffield Councillors, members of the Children and Young People’s Directorate, and Young Carers themselves.
After a ceremony that awarded and recognised the work of Young Carers, the conference broke off into discussion groups, each focusing on a particular area of concern within the campaign. Harry led the workshop on the Young Carer’s Card and addressed representatives from local Schools and the Children’s Directorate. Harry first introduced the concept of the card to these education authorities, because it is within schools that this ID card will be used and therefore cooperation with schools was a vital element to ensuring success.
Harry’s aim in the workshop was to set out a number of agreements from the group that would ensure effective consultation with young carers, increased awareness of the card in schools and input on design features. Harry also secured a dialogue with the representatives from schools and easily convinced them to be part of a pilot scheme for the cards, once they had been produced. This will highlight any issues in the cards implementation, and give an opportunity to share a best practice model for use when the card goes city-wide.
He then went further, to ask the Young Carer’s Steering group to coordinate an effort to reach the stage of implementation. He stressed that Young Carers themselves must be involved at every step. The Children and Young People’s Directorate would be involved in this Steering Group and would liaise with the Sheffield Youth Parliament’s campaign.
After the event, Harry commented:
“This conference has been a great success. Through VOYCE’s bringing together of like-minded groups, they have greatly strengthened the campaign. From the Youth Parliament perspective within the project, it is a real achievement that our proposal has been realised as the best way to support Sheffield’s Young Carers. In a time where the Council’s ability to provide financial support to campaigns such as ours is diminishing, the bringing together of this community of activists is essential. By collectively pooling resources and using pre-existing institutions, such as schools, the question of funding and support, is addressed. I am very pleased that the momentum for helping Young Carers continues to grow”