The Key group, Very Important Carers (VIC), are a group of six young carers from Phoenix Detached Youth Project in North Tyneside who wanted to do something kind for their elderly neighbours and change their perceptions of young people with their Key project.
The group are all aged between 12 and 16 and first began their key adventure when they decided to use their first key project to bond as a group by taking a relaxing trip to the cinema. After the youngsters really got to know each other they decided to progress further in The Key Programme and give something back to their local community.
The youngsters came up with some fantastic ideas, including starting a soup kitchen and volunteering in a nursery. The group really struggled to narrow down their options and make the all-important project decision putting their ability to settle disagreements and make decisions early on in the programme. The Very Important Carers pulled together in time and settled on the wonderful idea of high tea and crafts with residents of Chirton Lodge, a sheltered housing scheme for over 55's.
Together, the young people planned, budgeted, pitched and executed their inclusive project and thoroughly developed their skills in the process. The group found that they are now better at searching for information after doing detailed research in the types of crafts they could do with the elderly and what exactly it would cost the group. Not only that, but the young carers felt that their communication skills thoroughly improved, not only with their peers and facilitator but with communicating and building rapport with the older generation.
The group’s facilitator, Becky Rowe, commented that The Key Programme had ‘gave the young people the opportunity to do something they wouldn't otherwise have been able to do.’ Becky also said that whilst ‘learning and practising new skills, the [young carers] had thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the elderly residents and want to develop further work with them.’
The Very Important Carers are continuing to do work for their local community and are busy making plans for the future, with on young member now deciding to head to college to study Health and Social care whilst continuing to volunteer at Chirton Lodge. It’s clear that these ambitious young carers are nowhere near finished with their fantastic so be sure to stay tuned!