Usually this time of year sees the North East Young People’s Awards taking place, celebrating the achievements of young people up and down the region. We will not be hosting a one-off event this year, but instead are shining a light on the young people and projects who have made a positive difference to the lives of those around.
First up, #WeCareToo – a campaign created by young people at Newcastle Carers to which focuses on the early identification of young adult carers in order to improve their health and wellbeing.
The group of young adult carers formed their project idea after a discussion about health and how they felt that the health and wellbeing of young people across the region could be improved. Of the issues discussed, the group felt that many of the health challenges young adult carers faced could have been overcome, or made less significant, if they had received more support from an earlier stage.
The group set about creating #WeCareToo to raise awareness of what it means to be a carer, and to prevent people reaching crisis before they receive support.
All 11 members of the #WeCareToo project are young adult carers who had to balance their lives alongside looking after a family member with an illness, disability, mental health illness or addiction. But the passion and enthusiasm of the group didn’t allow these barriers to impede their progress. Together, they planned the whole campaign from start to finish, including finding funding, selecting models, commissioning a design company and identifying locations to show their work. The campaign was shown on billboards around the city, along with a series of publicity material and a host of tv, radio and social media coverage. The campaign is expected to have made an impression on 162,928 people from billboards and bus stops alone – a truly staggering figure, and testament to the young people’s efforts.
We visited the group on National Carers Awareness Day to hear more about their achievements. Claire Briston from Newcastle Carers said “The group deserve to be recognised for all of the hard work they put in to thinking big and not letting barriers get in their way. 1 in 12 young adults in Newcastle have a caring role; carers often do not realise that they do care as they see it as a normal way of life.”
#WeCareToo is a fantastic example of the potential young people have to make a difference to the lives of others. Across the year, we’ll share more case studies and examples from across the region of young people’s achievements and contributions to their communities.