Young carers in Kirklees were given the chance to take a break from their responsibilities and join a pioneering arts and culture workshop.
The Young Carers Creative Makers workshop, run by local actor and producer Madiha Ansari, took place at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield.
Madiha, who is campaigns and participation officer at campaign-led theatre company, LUNG, has worked extensively with young carers on various projects over the years. The team at LUNG secured funding for the pilot project from creative education provider IVE.
The Young Carers Creative Makers programme is designed to develop the creative skills and confidence of young carers by building relationships with their local theatre, while offering respite from their caring duties.
A young carer is someone aged 17 and under who has the responsibility of providing unpaid care to a relative. It is estimated that there are over 700,000 Young Carers in Britain, with an average age of 12-and-a-half years.
As a result of the funding secured, LUNG, along with Barnardo’s Kirklees Young Carers Service and Lawrence Batley Theatre, engaged 11 young people from Kirklees, aged 12-17 years, with drama games, verbatim theatre techniques, inspirational research, teaching and learning new creative skills and writing critical reviews.
The local young carers were also given an exclusive backstage tour of Lawrence Batley Theatre and attended classes with industry insiders who work across set, costume, lights, sound and stage management.
At the end of the sessions, they combined all of their work and experiences to develop and produce ‘Isolation is…’, a short film that the participants wrote, illustrated and recorded to be published online to celebrate Young Carers Action Day.
Following the success of the pilot scheme, a second project will run in August with plans to roll out the workshops nationally to young carers in the long term.
Madiha said: “The arts have a vital role to play in offsetting some of the challenges that young carers face.
“LUNG is committed to providing this support through long-term creative projects, and working collaboratively with communities, arts venues and young carers’ services to help enrich the lives of people who might not otherwise have access to the theatre and other arts.”