Brentford FC’s psychologist Michael Caulfield delivered his first ever wellbeing workshop to young carers last week. The workshop, which culminated in a “Walk and Talk” around Griffin Park, provided the young carers with techniques to manage stress. Held at Griffin Park to mark World Mental Health Day this week, the workshop aimed to provide support for young carers while simultaneously raising awareness of the stress and anxiety many young carers face.
Brentford attacker Sergi Canós was on hand to offer his own wisdom on how to manage stress. And with the EFL committed to raising awareness of mental health through its official charity partner Mind, Brentford FC are leading the way in raising awareness of mental health both on and off the football pitch.
Sergi said: “Until I came to the workshop, I had no idea the difficulties young carers faced looking after a family member. Using my platform as a professional footballer, I hope I have given young carers a voice and reminded them they are not alone and we are here to help them.”
The Young Carers Project, delivered by the Club’s award-winning Community Sports Trust, offers vital respite to young people who are looking after a family member in a caring capacity. With 80 per cent of young carers carrying out caring duties every day or most days of the week, the workshop aimed to highlight the importance of walking, having a good night’s sleep and exercising regularly.
Jessica McDonald, 11, a young carer for her brother, credits the project with helping her talk more openly. She said: “It is good to meet people who are going through the same experience as you and understand what it’s like to look after someone with an illness or additional needs. I have started to talk more to my family about things and I think my confidence has improved.”
Commissioned by Ealing Council and Hounslow Council, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s Young Carers Project offers young people the opportunity to learn new skills and gain in confidence on a weekly basis. The projects include after-school homework clubs, lunchtime clubs, youth clubs, fortnightly swimming clubs and day trips during the school holidays.
Councillor Yvonne Johnson, Ealing Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Whether as family or friends, teachers or healthcare professionals, we all have a role to play in supporting young people through challenging times. The council is proud to be running a mental health first aid programme in our schools to help staff identify and support children struggling with their mental health.
“And I am very pleased the Young Carers project, delivered with Brentford FC’s Community Sports Trust, is providing support to these exceptional young people who, typically, have taken on far more responsibility at home than most others the same age. Everyone needs help sometimes and we should all feel comfortable asking for it – especially young people. Having sports professionals from the football club to reiterate this message in an accessible way to young people is so important in letting them know they are not alone.”
For more information about the Trust’s community projects visit www.brentfordfccst.com.
For more information about Brentford FC’s psychologist, visit https://www.justcaulfield.com/.