From Donegal to Brussels with a story to tell
Two delegates from the Donegal Youth Service Young Carers Project travelled to the European Parliament in Brussels from the 5th-7th of March. They made the long trip to Belgium to meet with the European Parliament’s Informal Carers Interest Group, having been invited by Irish MEP Marian Harkin. They are a special interest group comprised of 32 MEPs who are working towards improving the quality of day-to-day life for Europe’s many carers.
Donegal Young Carers Clara Curran, and Malcolm Boyd shared their experiences of caring for a family member, what supports would have been beneficial for them growing up, and what changes and supports they feel would help current young carers across the EU. Too often young carers are not involved in the decision making of services involved with their family, despite the huge impact it can have on their lives. Personal stories are therefore a key part of creating policy that can implement real and useful change for future generations, and can help shine a light on young people who are too often invisible, and unheard in our societies.
Youth Worker Frankie McGreevy who coordinates the Young Carers Donegal Project accompanied them to Brussels and shared his thoughts: “I am very proud of the contribution the Donegal Young Carers made to the interest group, and their bravery in sharing their personal stories. We are just hoping now that it will contribute to real change for the current, and future young carers across Europe.”
The Young Carers Project are having a busy few months between this visit, and their current Healthy Ireland Initiative Project. They received short term funding from November 2017, to March 2018 for the Young Carers ‘Fit4Life’ groups in Letterkenny and the Inishowen area, and this is giving them an opportunity to socialise with their peers, and a much deserved chance to focus on their own health and have fun.
Their focus now is on creating a sustainable and stable Donegal Young Carers Project, which will enable them to broaden their reach across Inishowen and beyond. However, due to the precarious funding situation, with no long term funding currently secured it is unfortunately not possible to promise long term support to the young people currently engaged with the service.
The group works on reducing isolation by offering peer support, one-to-one support as well as practical training for more efficient ways to care for their loved ones, and trips out as well as residentials which aim to offer some relief and carefree fun for young people who often miss out on things other young people their age take for granted.
Donegal Young Carers project is made possible via the funding of Healthy Ireland, CYPSC (Children and Young People’s Services Committee), Donegal Youth Service and TUSLA. The Young Carers Project falls under the remit of LOFT Letterkenny.
The LOFT (Learning Opportunities For Teens) Youth Project & Health Advice Café is a support service for young people based in Donegal Youth Service, 16-18 Port Road, Letterkenny. The LOFT is jointly managed by Donegal Youth Service and Foiróige, funded by TUSLA. Email email@example.com, (074) 91 29630. Donegal Youth Service are a registered charity. CHY 15027.