Posted by Sandra on August 31 2011

OMG! This year’s Scottish Young Carers Festival (27&28 August) with over 500 young carers attending will probably go down in history as the best one ever!

We had surprise guests this year – the McFly boys and TV presenter Zoe Salmon dropped in on the saturday to surprise the young carers, hand out goodie bags and perform an impromptu 20-minute gig exclusively for Scotland’s nicest young people.

The expression on everyone’s faces when McFly appeared is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. The band was there being filmed for a programme for Channel 5 about the Festival and services for young carers.

Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government, we’ve been able to run the two-day Festival for the last four years. Surprise appearances from celebrities aside, it’s an event that young carers love and look forward to all year. 100% of young carers asked say they want to return to the Festival. Not surprising really, as the Festival gives them the chance to have fun, get a break from caring and try out new activities.

The Festival is open to all young carers’ services in Scotland. We work with a steering group made up representatives from other carers’ charities, the Scottish Government and children’s charities to organise the Festival so that it is something children and young people really enjoy.

We’ve got a serious side to the Festival too. We invite along ministers, politicians, councillors and other people who make decisions about services for young carers (and funding!). They speak to young carers and find out about their lives. And we set up a consultation tent for young carers to let us know what they think about school, doctors, social services, the festival and their young carers’ group.

But its future – and the future of young carers’ services – isn’t so sure. Everyone knows that spending on carers’ services is at risk. At the festival, young carers tell us how much they rely on their young carers’ groups and how much they love coming to the Festival. We want to make sure funding for services and the Festival continues for a long, long time.



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