Over a year ago now, Carer Support Wiltshire got together a group of their brilliant young adult carers to form a steering group which would decide on something new, innovative and useful specifically designed for young adult carers. After brainstorming and working together using their own experiences of caring, it was decided that a website would be created to be a resource centre and online community just for young adult carers.
And a year on, here we are! I met up with Alana, a young adult carer part of the original steering group that first came up with the idea of YACbook. We spoke about her experience and what she thinks of the website now.
‘When did you get involved with Carer Support Wiltshire and was it like working with other young adult carers when brainstorming ideas?’
I’ve been caring since was ten years old, and I’ve been involved in stuff since then. I was with the young carers group before meeting YAC support worker Andrea at Carer Support Wiltshire and getting involved with the young adult carer stuff. It’s been so great to meet others and get involved with events and activities. I remember we did the ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ event, I got to meet the mayor of Chippenham, it was really fun. It really does feel like a community when we’re all together, so being invited to be a part of the steering group to decide what to do for young adult carers like us was a great opportunity.
‘Why did you think YACbook was a good idea? What was important about it for you?’
We all agreed we wanted the money to go to something young adult carers actually used and would find really helpful. That’s why we wanted something online, something that would be quick and easy for accessing information and would reach more people. We first decided on an app that people could download to their phones, but then that turned out to be a little harder to create, so then we all thought of the next best thing – a website, and actually found it to be a better idea because more information could be put onto it.
All of us in the young adult carers group never had a dedicated website with information and advice you could trust all in one place, so we really thought it was important that there be one.
‘Why do you think it’s important there be a distinction between young carers, young adult carers and adult carers?’
The thing is when I was 14 all the information out there was hard to understand, it was mostly aimed at adults. I knew that it should have been the other way around, that I should have been being cared for rather than me caring for other people, but I still didn’t know I was a carer or what that even meant.
Then when I got older and understood more about caring, it felt really nice to have a group of others my age all in the same boat. If you’re an adult, you’ve already lived most of your life, you might have a job or a family already of your own, but as a young adult you’re just starting out and caring stops you from doing most of that. So it’s really important there’s stuff out there made with us in mind.
‘What do you think of the website now it’s live? Is it like you pictured?’
I love how the website looks and feels. It’s easy to use, there’s so much important information on there without it being overwhelming. The blog and social media like Instagram is really good for getting young people involved. For the future I think it’s going to be great having competitions and activities young adult carers can get involved with on social media and YACbook, and really just grow the community. It’s been so amazing seeing it from start to where it is now, actually a real website people can use and I’m really glad I got to be apart of it.
A big thank you to Alana and all the YAC's for being a part of the original YAC steering group, and for letting me interview her. Stay tuned for blog posts and fun stuff on social media from Alana herself!
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