Listen to voices of young carers

Blackpool Carers Centre head of fundraising Terry Hodkinson with two balloon pledges on Young Carers Awareness Day
Blackpool Carers Centre head of fundraising Terry Hodkinson with two balloon pledges on Young Carers Awareness Day
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Young carers spoke from the heart at a special event organised to mark Young Carers Awareness Day at Beaverbrooks House, the base of Blackpool Carers Centre.

Professionals listened. In the presentation room above the showcase facility designed by BBC DIY SOS they watched – and indeed some wept – as young carers and peer support ambassadors put the case for this year’s good mental health theme: care for me, too.

Speakers from Young Carers ranks included last year’s young carer of the year Joseph Pratt-Fryer, watched with pride by stepdad Andrew and mum Amanda, for whom he cares, and who is now a parent ambassador herself. Joe said: “We want to be the voice of young carers in schools.”

Shelbie Draycott, 15, presented a poem in tribute to her mum. Shelbie was featured in The Gazette on Young Carers Awareness Day on Thursday with cousin Tyler Norbury, 13, who cares for and lives with his nan; his mum, dad and siblings live in Ireland.

Dave and Ann Clarke, of Kirkham Masonic Lodge, handed over a cheque for £700 specifically for young carers, Martin Long, chairman of Blackpool Business Leaders Group, spoke eloquently about the need to “give something back” to the community and other professionals signed up to actively support young carers who play such a significant role in society.

Meanwhile, the feathers have been flying at Blackpool Carers Centre as the team prepares for the big fund-raising ball of the year.

Carers are good at masking inner feelings, but it’s great when they get a chance to express them in creative form. And they’ll be able to do this when the charity hosts a Venetian Masquerade Ball on Saturday, February 9 at the Imperial Hotel from 6.30pm to 2am.

More than 300 are attending – and any latecomer table sponsors would be more than welcome.

If you haven’t got a mask, don’t worry, the charity’s own mask stall will be set up in the reception lounge, and the embellished masks will be on sale for a fiver each.

The ball is being held in the Lancastrian suite with Hayley Kay welcoming guests and introducing Michelle Smith, the chief executive of Blackpool Carers Centre, and Paul Jebb, the chairman of trustees.

There’ll be a fantasy fizz reception, divinely decadent four course dinner, half bottle of wine per person, and entertainment throughout.

Special recognition awards and young fund-raiser of the year will be presented by Coronation Street’s Lucy Fallon – an ambassador for Blackpool Carers Centre.

At last year’s Spring Ball, 330 guests raised £15,300 to help support unpaid carers.

For further details call Kay Soper on (01253 393748) or email