Just before Christmas, dozens of young carers in Ealing enjoyed an exciting and free Christmas party, which was part-funded by Bees 50/50 - Brentford Football Club’s Official Matchday Lottery. The party, held at the Horizons Centre in Hanwell, was organised by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and included music, food and games. More importantly, the event provided the young carers with a much-needed and well-deserved break. Carers also received presents from The Green Board Company and a donation from the Club’s fans’ network Beesotted.
Kathryn Sobczak, who coordinates the Ealing Young Carers’ Project on behalf of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “This Christmas party is something very close to my heart; I was a young carer as a child and I know how challenging it can be. Organising this party, and seeing the difference it makes to young carers, is the most rewarding part of my job.”
This was certainly the case for eight-year-old Suliman who attended the event: “I was so excited,” he said. “It was the best party I’ve ever been to with the best presents.”
There are 700,000 young carers in the UK and more than 200 young carers living in Ealing alone. Young carers are children and young people under 18 who look after someone in their family who has an illness, a disability, a mental health problem or a substance misuse problem. These young adults take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.
Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “Due to caring commitments, young carers can often miss out on social opportunities that other young people take for granted. Through our work with Ealing Young Carers, we are providing much-needed respite and support. Too often, young carers feel isolated or invisible; our project aims to change that.”