Thanks to support from the New Forest Young Carer’s Service, a local young carer is heading off to Winchester University.
‘Joanna’ (not her real name) was encouraged to apply after taking part in a special residential activity two years ago. “It wasn’t anything I’d ever even considered before. As a young carer, planning for your future isn’t always that easy; you feel you have responsibilities. You can feel trapped and as if you have a duty to stay at home, even if your family are telling you that putting yourself first isn’t being selfish.
“But attending the residential visit and talking to the project workers made me realise that it’s my life as well. The thought of my mum not having me at home to help worries me, but I know there is some support in place for her, and the University have a brilliant team to help young carers, so I can arrange to go home if I need to.
It does still scare me a bit but I’m really excited about my future now, and it’s all thanks to the New Forest Young Carers, who gave me the chance to experience student life on the residential. I’m so grateful to them and the University and now I want to be able to help other young carers by hopefully becoming a student ambassador.”
Marie Shotbolt from the New Forest Young Carers service added, “Being able to offer opportunities like the residential and taster days is really important. We want young carers to have the same options and hopes for their future as any other young person. We can’t take all the credit for Joanna though – she is an amazing young woman, who has battled really hard through everything going on in her life and all the demands on her time to get the grades she needed. It really is an amazing achievement and we are all so proud of her.”
The Young Carers Service currently works with over 220 young carers and their families across the New Forest, providing support, advice and activities. For more information, please contact Marie on 01425 482773 or visit the Community First website. You can also find them on Facebook by typing ‘New Forest Young Carers’ into the search bar, and on Twitter @NF_YoungCarers