In November 2012, Maureen McGinn, Chair of Big Lottery Fund Scotland Committee, David Green, Big Lottery Fund Committee member, and me, Frances Chisholm from the Press Team, visited Skye and Lochalsh Young Carers in the lovely Victoria Cottage in Portree. The Young Carers project was awarded over £358,000 from the Investing in Communities 21st Century Life programme. The five year grant means they can continue to support young carers across Skye, and help more in Lochalsh. It was a visit that was inspiring, moving and humbling all at the same time.
We met Marjory and Becca, who manage the project; Pat who chairs the Management Committee, some fantastic volunteers and four of the 120 young people who will use the project. Attending the meeting was a personal challenge for each young carer but they volunteered to welcome us because they value the service so much and because they had played a key role in designing the services and the application to Big Lottery Fund Scotland.
Steven and Ali were two of those young carers who agreed to me filming them.
“Well I care for my mum because she’s got cancer.” Steven is 18 and was a member of Skye and Lochalsh Young Carers for five years. He’s now 18 and enjoying work experience in the hospitality trade and drops in regularly to let them know how he’s getting on.
“I come to Young Carers because it provides a coping strategy and just good banter and to hang out with my friends and whatnot.” Ali has been with the Young Carers project for three years and has just completed his 5th year exams. He started back to school this week and is working towards his goal of becoming a defence weapons engineer.
Having caught up with Skye & Lochalsh Young Carers this week I was delighted to hear that they’ve been chosen as a beneficiary charity of the fundraising event Row St Kilda to Skye. In summer 2014, a team will attempt to row the 100 miles from St Kilda to Portree, in a 19th Century boat they are currently restoring themselves, to raise funds for the RNLI and Young Carers. We wish them luck!