As part of our satellite club initiative, we worked with the Carers Trust Tyne & Wear to engage their young, inactive carers in physical activity. The project targeted young people with caring responsibilities for a family member with a serious illness, disability or addiction. Young carers tend to face a number of similar challenges which prevent them from taking part in sport or physical activity such as:
they are often from lower socio-economic backgrounds
a significant proportion support a single mother with a mental health condition
lack of transport
stigma affecting their confidence and motivation
education and caring responsibilities leaving little time or energy for other activities.
Ultimately the project’s aim was to improve the self-esteem, confidence, health and fitness of young carers by engaging them in physical activity. In addition, the project would help all partners to gain a better understanding of the barriers that young carers face and how best to overcome them.
We worked with Carers Trust Tyne & Wear, providing them with advice and guidance, to set up fortnightly physical activity sessions at leisure centres and other external facilities to offer a wide range of different sports that would appeal to the young carers, finding activities that they would want to try and continue in their own time.
Engagement was maintained via social media, setting up regular events digitally so that the young carers could easily indicate interest and access activity information.
Being able to provide young carers with a regular fun way to exercise and meet with friends has been invaluable not only for self-esteem, and connecting with peers, but also for improving their mood and general state of wellbeing.
The project has provided the opportunity to encourage functional fitness through a variety of approaches to show that there are roads to fitness that do not have to be hard work or embarrassing, which is very important to people in this age group.
“Young carers are continuing to meet up outside of the group and accessing the activities in their own time using a discount card that has been provided.
“Participants have reported feeling more confident and willing to try new activities, as well as engage with other opportunities that the Carers Trust provides.” - Ant Lea, Carers Trust Tyne & Wear