Ella was referred to Carers Link in February 2015 when she was 11 years old, she is now 13.
Ella’s younger sister is 5 years old and although she has no formal diagnosis, she has additional support needs and delayed development. Sophie struggles with communication, still wears nappies and also has trouble with her mobility.
Ella was referred to us by a family support worker from Caudwell Children who was providing Ella’s younger sister with support and recognised the impact that Sophie’s support needs was having on the family, including Ella.
After an introductory meeting with Ella’s mum at home I was able to establish that Ella helps out a lot with tasks round the house. She also spends a lot of her time playing with Sophie and keeping an eye on her which gives her mum a break to get other tasks done round the house.
“I help with cooking, cleaning and taking care of my sister.”
I also found out that Ella’s mum struggles with poor mental health. She explained that she felt that Ella takes this on as well and worries a lot about both her mum and her younger sister.
“It sometimes affects me when I want to go out with friends but my Mum is having a bad day.”
After this initial meeting and assessment, it was clear that Ella had a fairly intense caring role as she provides practical and emotional care to both her mum and her sister. I knew she would benefit from some support around this. I met with Ella on several occasions over the next few months and provided her with 1-1 support. In August 2015 the young carer group started running every 3 weeks which Ella was keen to attend.
Since August Ella has attended almost every young carer group and has enjoyed the chance to try out loads of activities including; Bowling, African Drumming, a Drama workshop, a visit from the Animal Man and many more. She has especially benefitted from meeting other young carers and has made some really strong friendships which exist outside the group setting as well.
“I love that I can say how I feel and people actually understand.”
Ella herself has expressed gratitude at being able to spend time with other young carers and finds it a comfort knowing that she isn’t alone in her caring role.