Reflections on the Children Who Care Too Conference
On Thursday 15th June 2023, Blackpool Carers Centre hosted the highly anticipated Children Who Care Too Conference at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool. The event brought together professionals, educators, and community members to shine a spotlight on the experiences and needs of young carers. With esteemed speakers and insightful discussions, the conference served as a platform to raise awareness, share knowledge, and strengthen support for young carers.
The conference commenced with an enlightening keynote address by Professor Saul Becker, a renowned expert in young carers’ research and the President of Blackpool Carers Centre. Professor Becker delved into the unique challenges faced by young carers, highlighting the importance of recognising their invaluable contributions and addressing their specific needs. His passionate advocacy for effective young carers support resonated deeply with the audience, setting the tone for the impactful discussions that followed. Professor Becker was able to provide a clear view of the number of young carers nationally and internationally as well as the differing levels of support and recognition on offer in various localities.
Tom McMurdo, Director of Finance and Resources at Blackpool Carers Centre, provided vital information on the current landscape of young carers in Blackpool. Sharing the unique challenges in Blackpool and the numbers of young carers in the town; he was able to bring the national and international picture into sharp focus locally. Tom showed the stark disparity between the numbers of young carers in Blackpool according to different sources, with the number identified through the recent School Census around 20x lower than the number in contact with the service.
The conference also provided an opportunity for Sarah Dunn, Child Protection and Attendance Officer and Susan Sayers, Family Engagement Officer at Layton School to share their experiences of working in collaboration with Blackpool Carers Centre to support young carers within the school setting. They highlighted the positive impact of providing targeted interventions, such as support groups, to ensure young carers feel understood, validated, and equipped with the tools to succeed both academically and emotionally.
After a rather exceptional lunch, delegates were afforded the opportunity to visit a variety of workshops with the young carers team. These workshops focused on Impact, the Family Focus Project and the identification of young carers, providing attendees a holistic view of the model of support employed by Blackpool Carers Centre.
The final speaker of the day was Suzanne Robertson, Service Manager Early Help & Support Services at Blackpool Council. Suzanne discussed the general priorities of Early Help and the recent introduction within their team of a co-located Link Worker from Blackpool Carers Centre. This commitment signifies their recognition of the vital role these link workers play in providing essential support and guidance to young carers and their families. The link worker’s presence will undoubtedly strengthen the network of support available and enable early intervention to mitigate the potential long-term consequences of caring responsibilities.
The Children Who Care Too conference was a resounding success, bringing together passionate individuals dedicated to improving the lives of young carers in Blackpool and across the country.
Through events like this, Blackpool Carers Centre continues to foster partnerships, raise awareness, and advocate for policy changes that enhance the lives of young carers. With a renewed sense of purpose and a strengthened network of support, we can collectively ensure that young carers receive the recognition, understanding, and resources they deserve to thrive in their caring roles and beyond.