Forest school gives Blackpool's young carers 'the chance to be a child'

A celebration of carers all over Britain saw children at Blackpool Carer’s Centre swept away for a week of fun and games, giving them the rare chance to relax away from the grown-up stresses of home.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 12:30 pm
Young Carers take part in outdoor activities at Blackpool Carers Centre. Pictured is James Salkeld, 14 with Jenna Benson from Roots to Branches
Young Carers take part in outdoor activities at Blackpool Carers Centre. Pictured is James Salkeld, 14 with Jenna Benson from Roots to Branches

Blackpool Carers Centre currently supports around 1,000 children and young carers in the town, many of whom are constantly juggling schoolwork with household chores such as cooking and cleaning.

They took part in forest school activies, lighting camp fires, roasting marshmallows, and climbing trees throughout Carers Week.

Faye Atherton, quality director at the carers centre, in Newton Drive, said: “When our children are at home they are often busy with everything that comes with being a carer, so being able to come here and explore and have that sense of freedom is important.

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Harry Sibley, 14, and Tommy Smith, 13

“For lots of our children, their lives are very small in comparison to a standard childhood. Their life is all about being a carer at home, looking after people, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and the rest of their life is taken up by school. Having respite here makes them realise there’s more in the world, there are activities they can do, there are children like them they can connect with and not feel so alone."

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“For a lot of our children, isolation, especially in the past 12 months, was unbearable. But being able to come here gives them the chance to just be a child," Faye said.

“Carers Week is always big in our diary, and thought we have not been able to do as much as we would have liked this year, just the chance to spread awareness is a strong win for us.”

James Salkeld, 14 with respite activity support worker Katrina Shuttleworth and Jenna Benson from Roots to Branches