The Lynn News Somewhere for Me appeal is on its way to start helping West Norfolk’s young carers – with £500 raised in less than a week.
A generous donor kick-started the £10,000 appeal on Tuesday – just five days after we launched it on Friday – when he gave £500 to the cause.
The donor, who did not want to be named, said she used to go to school in Lynn and wanted to do something to help make a difference to young carers in the area.
The West Norfolk Carers charity described it as a “fantastic start” to the appeal, which will help it expand its young carers service – and give even more children taking on the tough role ‘somewhere for me’.
The service currently helps 90 children aged from just seven to 18 to have a life of their own outside of caring, and the chance to be a child again.
But the service is oversubscribed and there are even more youngsters are on the waiting list.
The £10,000 appeal will help fund additional hours for a young carers support worker, provide an extra support group with activities and trips and also help the charity provide more one-to-one support.
The charity’s young carers team currently consists of just two young carers support workers, Emma Kandjou and Jackie Taylor, and volunteer Sue Renwick.
“We want to be able to do so much more for our young carers, but we can only do so much,” said Emma.
“That’s why support for this new appeal is so vital. It will make such a difference to so many children.”
Jackie said even though awareness of young carers has increased since the charity launched the service eight years ago, many people are still shocked when they discover just what they have do on a daily basis.
Looking after a family member with a disability, illness, mental health condition or drug or alcohol problem can see them providing everything from personal and emotional care to doing household chores and cooking tea.
And it’s not just parents they can be looking after. It can be a sibling, or if a sibling has a disability they have to provide more self care, doing things for themselves as the parent looks after their brother or sister.
Jackie said: “When some people find out the age of a young carer they are totally shocked. They can’t believe that children are providing that much care.
“They say ‘surely they don’t have to’, but young carers don’t get a choice, they just get on with it.”
Anyone wanting to make a donation can fill in and follow the instructions on the coupon on this page, or go online to www.westnorfolkcarers.org.uk and click ‘donate’ on the home page.