We have a great online community where our teenage young carers can:
- talk to each other
- reach out to a support worker
- get on going mental health advice
- self-help ideas
We also run activities, competitions and have other fun opportunities for our teenage young carers.
In addition to the online group, we run monthly hangouts that take place after school. The location and activity are decided by our young carers, encouraging them to have more input over the support and respite they receive.
By having constant access to the online group and monthly opportunities to meet up in person, our teenage young carers will have more chances to reach out, seek advice and make friends. An email option is available for those young carers who do not have social media or are uncomfortable using it.
We always encourage our young carers to make friends, having a friend in a similar caring role or a friend who has the knowledge and understanding of what it is like to care for a dependent, is so valuable. It is our hope that when our young carers reach eighteen years old and sadly leave our service, they will do so with the friends they have made at Be Free YC and will continue with their own social support network as they move on.
The online group
Our online group is hosted on a private and secure Facebook page. The group is monitored by Be Free YC Support Workers and access is only granted to those teenagers who are registered with us and have signed the consent form, agreeing to the group code of conduct. The group is a safe place for teenagers to socialise and reach out for support. Rude and offensive behaviour will not be tolerated and those behaving in such a way will be asked to leave.
In the group we share mental health advice on subjects such as how to recognise and manage anxious thoughts and feelings, mindfulness, managing feelings of stress and anger and the importance of sleep and regular exercise. We share self-help tips and coping strategies and also sign post to other organisations and websites that can offer more tailored support.
The group also has more social opportunities with general discussions on current events, quizzes, games, competitions, as well as our monthly hangouts.
The email group
We understand that some young carers do not have social media and some might not be comfortable with creating a profile in order to access our online group. In this case, we have an email group that young carers can sign up to instead. They will received monthly emails with a roundup of what has happened on the group, complete with all the necessary information on the next hangout.
To join the email group, make sure you select the email option on the consent form and provide us with your preferred email address. This could be the young carers email address, their parents email address, or both.
The email group is a great way to stay in touch without having to interact on Facebook.
An in person hangout will be arranged every month after school. What we do and where we go is completely up to our young carers. They are asked to give suggestions on what they want to do each month and then we have a vote for the group’s favourite option.
The hangouts can be something social focused such as visiting a Café, dessert parlour, restaurant or park to sit and talk. Or it could be more active like a playing sports or an activity such as going to the cinema or bowling.
How to join
To join, young carers need to fill out the online consent form which will be posted with the hangout announcement on the group page or in the monthly email.
Further information can be found in our frequently asked questions, how to join guide and staying safe online.