There were no men overboard but huge cheers from the sidelines when Young Carers took to the water on Saturday 16th August as part of a Family Day and Regatta organised in partnership with the Turn the Tide Boat Project.
The YCs were supported by their families and friends when they raced their canoes they had built from scratch at Fairlands Valley Sailing Lake as part of a pioneering scheme which gives young people aged 12 to 18 who are living in challenging situations the opportunity to work as a team and build a dinghy or canoe from scratch.
After completing the eight-week course the YCs took to the water while their friends and family enjoyed picnics on the banks of the lake.
Marriotts School pupil Jason George, 14, from Stevenage, helps care for his mother, Paula, who is blind, and his partially blind dad, Abner.
Jason, pictured in action, along with Libby Moore, 12, was delighted to win one of the races in his canoe named ‘Army Fire’. He said: “I painted it khaki green so it’s the same as the Army and it flies through the water like fire!”
He is one of nine children and is registered as a young carer with Carers in Hertfordshire. His mum Paula said: “Luckily we get a lot of support from school, such as homework club, but days like this give Jason the space just to be himself for a change.”
In addition to the races, younger children took part in a colouring competition and young carers left their mark on a graffiti wall by adding their messages to say how their caring role makes them feel.
For more information on Turn the Tide Boat Project call Pete Cross on 01438 842200.
Visit our Facebook page to see more photos of this event.
Sir Frederic Osborn Year 10 pupils, from left, Shannon Hall, Grace Moore and Elle Burch-Melville scaled Wales’ highest peak to raise £1,000 for Carers in Hertfordshire.
They were accompanied on the climb up Mount Snowdon by mum Vicki Burch-Melville and teachers Rachel Phillips and Gemma Ward.
The girls from the Welwyn Garden City school exceeded their fundraising target for a cause that is dear to their hearts and now aim to raise awareness.
Elle cares for her younger sister who has ADHD and autism and Shannon cares for her younger sister, Charlie, who has Rett syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects approximately 1 in 12,000 females and causes severe physical and mental disability. Shannon also has a hip problem which made the climb even more of a challenge. Grace, cares for her autistic younger brother Charlie, and together with her dad has Type 1 diabetes.
The girls were elated by the experience. Shannon said: “Climbing Mount Snowdon was a massive personal accomplishment for me and has given me the inspiration to do more ambitious things. The route we took wasn’t easy and I am proud to say, we climbed Mount Snowdon the hard way!”
Elle said: “The trip was an amazing experience which I will never forget.” And Grace added: “The weekend away itself was very memorable, I would love to do it again.”
Rachel Phillips, Year 10 Director of Learning, said: “I’m beyond proud of Elle, Grace and Shannon. Their effort, motiviation and dedication has been truly inspirational. Reaching the summit was emotional and one of the proudest moments of my teaching career. Well done ladies – you are my heroes!”
PE teacher Gemma Ward added: “The students made me extremely proud at how well they embraced and completed this challenge. The trek up was tricky but the views at the top and the tream spirit made it all worthwhile.”
And proud mum Vicki Burch-Melville said it had been a fantastic opportunity.
The girls say they now want to reach out to other children and teenage carers who may be going through stressful times and raise awareness.
Watch this videoclip below of their trek for young carers. For more photos visit our Facebook page.