At the end of June we attended the Young Carers Festival that was celebrating it’s 18th year.
The festivities were well enjoyed by everyone who was there, especially the young people who have a fantastic opportunity for respite and fun.
We were also running a stall in The Voice Zone where we consulted with the Young Carers about how to manage transitions. Often when Young Carers reach the age of 18 they are faced with tough decisions about how best to move on from school and studies. This can be made even hard when you factor in their caring roles and managing family relationships, responsibilities and expectations. We spent the day asking them to think about how there are always positives and negatives about moving on. You may really miss something but also equally be happy to leave something behind. You may be very nervous about something but also very exciting about moving on to something new.
“It will be good to leave behind bullies and people I don’t like but I will miss our garden at home”
“I’m nervous about handing over responsibilities to my younger siblings but I am happy to leave behind our noisy neighbours!”
“I’m excited about being able to express my new independent self-taking care of me and my wellbeing for a change, but I am nervous about leaving my Dad behind as he is going through a tough time”
“I’m looking forward to new experiences and meeting new people but I will miss all the memories in my house”
“I will miss my friends and family but I am excited about using my experience of looking after my sister to my day to day life.”
We’re very grateful to the Young Carers Festival for inviting us and to all the young people we spoke to about managing all feelings, good or bad, when it comes to moving on.
Happy Birthday YCF!
Dympna Cunnane (CEO) and Esther Malvern (Operations Director) took a trip to Plymouth to catch up with their Kidstime work. It was a real pleasure to see their Kidstime Workshop in action and meet with the families they have been supporting. A big thank you to all of the participants for letting us join in with their discussions, drama sessions and games. Esther in particular enjoyed creating clay characters with the children and acting out some scenes with them which we recorded and presented back to the parents.
We also had the opportunity to meet with teachers, pastoral teams and young carers services from across the area and present the Who Cares? work in schools to them. A very interesting discussion was had about how to empower school staff to help support children who have a parent with a mental illness and how, as a whole area, Plymouth can work co-operatively to spread the Kidstime work. We were both enthused and inspired by the work done in Plymouth and looking forward to returning in the autumn to do further school staff training and develop our Primary School material with the Plymouth Excellence Cluster.
Brand New Kidstime Workshops!
We’re delighted to announce that we have four new Kidstime Workshops up and running in Barnet, Westminster, Birmingham and Brent. You can find out more about them here. We look forward to returning to them in due course to pick up on their progress and share some of the learning with you. We are learning the importance of having a well trained and experienced core team to lead the workshops and we have produced online resources now which will guide the teams through the process from finding funding to starting working with the families.
We wish all four the very best with their groups and welcome them to the Kidstime Network.
Last night Wirral Kidstime received a generous donation of sound and filming equipment from Round Table in Wirral. We meet at Pilgrim Street Art Centre in Birkenhead and as you can see in the photos the room is very large and quite echoey. Some of the softer spoken adults and children are difficult to hear when in such a large space and the sound quality of our playback equipment has been hard to hear. Roger Clay and Janey from Round Table gave Kidstime some brilliant new loudspeakers, microphones, an iPad to film the dramas and dances and 20 Wise Mouse books, which we can lend to families so they can use them to help explain parental Mental Illness to their children. They joined our discussion and film session at the end of Kidstime to donate them to us. Next month we should be able to start making use of them! Many thanks for Round Table in Wirral!
Correspondence with the Prime Minister
In response to Prime Minister Theresa May announcement around mental health support earlier this year, we wrote to her to draw attention to the vulnerability of children of parents with mental illness and ask that the research and work we do at The Kidstime Foundation be included in the review. As you can see below from the response and our further correspondence we have been invited to be part of the Green Paper and have been connected with an MP in the Department of Education. Though we welcome this move forward and the interest in this vulnerable section of Society, it also underlines the neglect this group continues to suffer, indicates to us that the needs of this group clearly needs to be headlined more effectively.
We will, as ever, continue to push for these children to be identified and included in mental health policy as a separate group under Young Carers who suffer different adversities and require different support. We ask that policy makers and health, education and social care planners include this large group in their plans and budgets. The Kidstime Foundation have designed and delivered high quality and highly effective support services for these children and their families, which, if funded, would break the cycle and significantly save the public purse in the long term. It is time to be looking more closely at preventative measures to help protect children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Who cares? Awareness Raising Events in Barnet.
This February we ran four events with 27 secondary schools in Barnet to raise awareness of Children of Parents with a Mental Illness and start to explore what they, as schools, can do to support them. The events were a great success and well attended by a range of roles from the schools including Heads of Years, Pastoral teams and Student Support Services.
The afternoon was very useful and enlightening.
Has made me really begin to think about what we can do in school
These sessions were run in partnership with Barnet Primary and Secondary Schools CAMHS at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust and Barnet Mind, who have also set up and are running a Kidstime Workshop for the Barnet area.
We are now working closely with a secondary school to develop a lead for the Barnet hub and a Sixth Form College to develop transition packages for young adults from schools to further education and employment.
Excellent introduction to a very wide ranging topic.
Very passionate speakers
Very relaxed, open discussions
We look forward to the Barnet Kidstime Forum event in the summer to check in with how schools are moving forward with their COPMI support and introducing Kidstime to Primary schools.
Thank you, this session was very useful and encouraging to know that support for this group of young people is finally being taken seriously
Prime Minister unveils plans to transform Mental Health Support.
On Monday delivering the annual Charity Commission lecture, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a comprehensive package of measures to transform mental health support in our schools, workplaces and communities. The Prime Minister stated that true parity for mental and physical health can only be achieved if every institution recognises the vital role it can play in delivering this objective.
- PM: “I want us to employ the power of government as a force for good to transform the way we deal with mental health problems right across society”
- comprehensive package of reforms to improve mental health support at every stage of a person’s life – with an emphasis on early intervention for children and young people
- new support for schools with every secondary school in the country to be offered mental health first aid training and new trials to look at how to strengthen the links between schools and local NHS mental health staff
The Kidstime response:
We welcome this renewed commitment by government to improve mental health services in general and those for children in particular. It is clear that early help makes economic and social sense but sadly to date at least another four such promises from the previous Secretary of State for Education (Nicky Morgan), the previous Prime Minister, have not delivered anything because there has been no investment to back up the promises. Mental health services for children have not been protected at the local level and there is evidence that some of the much needed funding has been diverted to other struggling services.
We also welcome that the Prime Minister wants to find out ‘what is and what is not working’. We look forward to hearing the detail of how this is to be studied and acted upon. The provision of mental health ‘first aid ‘ training is a move in the right direction but again it depends on how this is designed and delivered.
Our work at the Kidstime Foundation over the last 15 years shows that children and teachers would welcome this and we have developed training and resources for schools in our ‘Who cares?’ project. The tragedy is that we know what needs to be done and we have the means to do it but not the funding. Until this is forthcoming we will continue to have empty promises and we will have to pay for the damage later in terms of lost tax revenue, high costs for social support and NHS bills for acute treatment because prevention was not politically a priority.
Alan Cooklin, Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and CEO Kidstime Foundation
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas!!
Thank you for all your support over this year and we look forward to you join us as we continue to support and raise awareness of children who have a parent with a mental illness in 2017.
Ambeya completed a Sky Dive for Kidstime and World Mental Health Day!
What perfect timing it was to skydive for Kidstime – the day before World Mental Health Day 2016. Like my China Trek, words cannot fully express what it felt like to complete a skydive. It was simply incredible. From physically shaking whilst signing the declaration before the jump, to landing with the biggest smile on my face, it just goes to show how much and how quickly emotions can change. I can still remember anxiously watching the timer and seeing our altitude climbing knowing; that we were only 5000ft up and still had another 5000ft to go before jumping. If I have to be honest, the worst part (before I said that I loved it!) was when the door of the plane opened. The guy attached to me was on the edge of the plane – whilst I am already dangling in the air! Skydiving made me realise what it is like to put your full trust in someone with your life. But, I don’t want to put anyone off by saying all this.
After jumping out and freefalling for a good 30-40 seconds, it indeed feel like I was diving into the clouds. Feeling the clouds and water particles hit your face feels so refreshing; however grey the clouds look from down below. At least the sun was out when the parachute opened. And that’s when it actually hit me that I’m a few minutes away from completing a skydive. Being up there makes you forget about everything and everyone for a moment. It’s a moment truly to yourself. You have no cares in the world in that moment – all I could actually think about is how long it took for this day to come and how quickly it’s all going to end. The world looks so much nicer from above the ground we walk on. I’m a wimp when it comes go heights. But up there, height wasn’t even an issue. In my opinion, being on a rollercoaster is scarier.
I had the patience to wait over year and a half for an hour of what I could call the best hour of my life. It’s given me back the confidence I had lost and I could not have done it without everyone’s encouragement and support. Kidstime will always stay dear to me. Children affected by parental mental illness are still sometimes left in the dark and its through these crazy events that I organise that I can help raise awareness of the young people Kidstime help. Completing a skydive has always been something important to me; but to know that I have done it for a good cause makes the whole feeling 100x better. I hope one day, these young people are given the life and opportunities which they have wished to have for all these years. I hope me completing this skydive has helped raise further awareness of how we support children with parents with a mental illness. I hope one day, that like myself, everyone can turn around and say ‘Yes, I said I would and could do it, and now I’ve done it.’ Never let anyone stop you from living your life or doing something you’ve dreamed of doing. Because it’s that mentality and negative attitude that makes the work even harder for charities like Kidstime to deal with. Only joking. Kidstime will always be there to support you.
Now it’s time to plan my next adventure!
Young People’s responses from the Young Carers Festival.
We’ve gone through all the responses from our stall at the Young Carers Festival and there are some consistent and strong messages from the young people that attended:
“caring is not easy but we want to do it”
“we don’t want sympathy but we do want support to deal with the issues”
” Mental Health is hidden and this makes it harder to deal with”
“we are not faking it and using it as an excuse to avoid things”
Thank you to everyone who took the time to meet with us and let us know their thoughts and feelings.
The Kidstime Foundation at the Young Carers Festival 2016!
We went to the Young Carers Festival at YMCA Fairthorne Manor and met some amazing young carers. We had some great conversations about how to burst the bubble on being a young carer of a parent with a mental illness. We look forward to sharing here some of their thoughts and ideas.
This week is Carers Week, 6th – 12th June.
This year for Carers Week we are asking how can organisations build carer friendly communities.
With 1 in 6 pupils in a classroom affected by a parent with a mental illness what are schools doing to support them?
• The number of 5-7 year olds providing care increased by 83% between 2001 and 2011.
• 39% of young carers have said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role.
• Only 36% of student carers felt able to balance commitments such as work, study, and family/relationships, compared to 53% of students without caring responsibilities.
Our Who Cares? programme can help to raise awareness of the needs of these children, tackle stigma and discrimination around mental illness and help these children come forward for support.
This Carers week we ask you to speak up for those that are caring for a parent with a mental illness. #carersweek
‘…you can’t talk about it at school because you know it makes you different. But at Kidstime, children talk about mental health all the time so you can stop holding in your feelings. It’s comforting, and I felt more accepting of my dad.’ Young Carer.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, 16th – 22nd May.
We’ll be adding posts all week about how relationships for young people can be affected when you are dealing with a parent with a mental illness and about how good relationships are essential to our wellbeing.
We need to understand just how fundamental relationships are to our health and wellbeing. We cannot flourish as individuals and communities without them. In fact, they are as vital as better-established lifestyle factors, such as eating well, exercising more and stopping smoking. – See more here at Mental Health Foundation’s website.
The Kidstime Foundation was featured in the BBC Three Counties radio programme – Shrink Wrapped.
Seasonal Greetings from The Kidstime Foundation
The Mail on Sunday has published an article on the Kidstime Workshops.
Catherine O’Brien has written about the Kidstime Workshops for You Magazine and The Mail on Sunday. Highlighting a number of the families we are helping through the workshops and how the work of drama is helping to support them.
Mental health awareness may be on the rise, but for the children caught up in family illness, support can be sadly lacking. Catherine O’Brien meets the professionals breaking boundaries with open conversation and drama – and the families they are helping.
Terry, a former electronics engineer, first brought Drew to Kidstime two years ago, as he and his family (he also has three grown-up children) struggled to cope with the ill health of his wife Amanda, 50.
‘It’s hard for any kid to come out and say, “My mum or dad has gone off the rails,” so instead Drew was pushing herself into a corner and could no longer relate to her peers,’ says Terry.
‘But coming here has enabled her to see that others are in similar situations and, although we have problems, we are working through them.
‘That has given her confidence and now she is blossoming.’
Project showcase event
Who Cares? Project: the unique in-school project to help children and young people of parents with mental illness will be presented on 26 October.
The young people involved, together with trustees and patrons, will present the development of the project to date and invite attendees to share in discussion of its future.
If you wish to have more information on the event, please contact us at email@example.com
Who Cares? Project: early positive feedback
A number of schools have now completed their piloting phase of Who Cares? Project and have made overwhelmingly positive comments about their experience.
From feedback reports schools sent us, after piloting Who Cares? Project between May and July 2015 we have discovered that:
- Some students were initially scared as they recognised symptoms in their selves or their parents. But they felt relief when they found out that others felt the same and been through the same thing. Students understood others’ needs and there has been a noticeable change in atmosphere among students, towards empathy and understanding.
- School staff felt that they have been educated too; they felt they can now sensitively support students and now they are more aware of the misconceptions of mental health
- Schools have reported that the Who Cares? Project also improved the overall school atmosphere, with increased confidence in both affected children and peer group relationship across the school
Catrina Garratt – Head of Drama Stoke Damerel Community College – Plymouth said:
‘The Who Cares? Drama team wrote a play for Assemblies in school. The audience were so engaged and the focus so intense you could hear a pin drop. They really took in the message. By the end of the week over 600 people watched this student led work.
One young carer said: “I really enjoyed it. The Who Cares? Project has given me so much confidence and even made me want to carry on with directing and performing”.
Great Success for Kidstime Foundation at the funding network event!
It has been a really interesting and successful evening: it kicked off with an ethical business debate and it carried on with several charities’ pitches about inspiring projects that asked for support.
Kidstime Foundation participated with a well-represented team; formed by professionals, school representatives, affected children and other stakeholders.
The Who Cares? Project touched the hearts of donors who very generous in supporting our cause. The evening raised over £10,000 in grants!
Have a look to Kidstime Who Cares? Project pitch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLzicNEZ91M
We would really like to thank all the people and organisations that contributed. Their donations make it possible to run our projects in real schools, to help real kids.
Thanks also to The Funding network organisation for organising such a nice event!
Great Wall of China Trek
Young carer, Ambeya, walks the wall for Kidstime Foundation
“I have never imagined I’d have the opportunity to trek the Great Wall of China but to do it in order to raise money for the Kidstime Foundation was simply incredible. No words or pictures would be able to describe my experience there, but what I can say is that it will probably be one of the most rewarding and exciting things I have done in my life so far. Being able to experience a whole new country, culture and environment with a bunch of strangers I met at the airport for departure has turned my life around. I met some of the most amazing, inspiring people who I hope to organise more trekking adventures with. Being able to speak about the Kidstime Foundation and give a talk about the work we do for children looking after parents with a mental illness at the top of Great Wall gave me a spark of hope for the charity. I wish I could go back and do it all over again! I would like to thank everyone who supported me with my fundraising; especially Odeon Marble Arch for allowing me to hold fundraising events which made a huge success. This will not be the end of my adventures, it’s only just the beginning. I will carry on raising money for the Kidstime Foundation and make sure young carers have a better future ahead of them.”
Congratulations to Ambeya for reaching her fundraising target, and wishing her good luck on her forthcoming adventures!
Thank you to the schools who have begun working with us on our Who Cares? project piloting.
We are looking forward to expanding the project in September with more schools lined up to be involved.
Our “Who Cares?” project is about to start piloting!
We are currently training teachers and school staff in different schools around the UK who will use the “Who Cares?” material to deliver the curriculum contents to their pupils.
Kidstime Workshops are expanding and we will soon be launching these workshops in new locations, both in the UK and abroad (Portugal)!
Our young carer Ambeya began her fundraising at the start of April, selling doughnuts at a stall at an Odeon Cinema, to raise money to support her walk along the Great Wall of China.
To find out more and support Ambeya, please go here
Why are you raising money for Kidstime Foundation?
“I have been a volunteer at the Kidstime Foundation for over a year now and recently they appointed me as a trustee. The charity is offered to children who have to look after parents with mental illness and find it difficult to come to terms with what they have to live with. This effects the relationships and bonds within the family and Kidstime try and explain to children what they are dealing with in order to make it easier for them. I have never managed to build a relationship with my mum and this therefore made it even more difficult for my brothers to build a relationship. If Kidstime was available to me when I was younger, I believe things would have been different and I wished that was the case.… I don’t want to see children suffer the same things in life that I have had to deal with”.
One of our determined young people, Kirsty Tahta-Wraith, is taking on a personal challenge in March and asks for sponsorship to raise funds for The Kidstime Foundation.
Kirsty will be doing the Salomon Citytrail™ Richmond 10K run in March!
“Growing up as a young carer for my father with bi-polar disorder had its fair share of difficulties. Nearing the end of the journey of childhood, I am so aware of the necessary help the Kidstime workshop group gave me and my family and thus where we would have been without it. There are so many other children like me, but drastically less people aware of their role and willing to help them. The money I raise for The Kidstime Foundation WILL change this!
Though I’m not strictly a kid anymore, the support I received and continue to receive from the Kidstime foundation has stayed with me. It remains credited for many of my past, present and future achievements. Please donate, and enable other children to flourish too.
I will be running a 10 kilometre race on the 22nd of March 2015. All of your donations will go towards the Kidstime Foundation. This is my effort to support those who supported me. Please show your support and donate what you can!”
You can sponsor Kirsty here.
To hear more from Kirsty and her feelings about the work we do and the support children need when dealing with parental mental illness please see her article in the Mail on Sunday and a video piece she did for The Guardian.
Happy New Year from everyone here at The Kidstime Foundation! We’re really looking forward 2015 – a very exciting time for us! Our Who Cares? pilot will be launching in the Spring and two of our young people will be launching their fundraising events shortly. Not to mention the on going work of all of our Kidstime Workshops (both existing and new!). Watch this space as we update you with all the goings on.
The Guardian Charity Appeal Blog wrote more about us on New Years day.
We thought we would start 2015 by hearing from some of the people directly helped by your donations. These young people are supported by the Kidstime Foundation, one of the charities chosen for this year’s appeal.
Read the post and watch the videos from our young people here.
The Mail on Sunday has published an article on the Kidstime Foundation.
On December 14th Sarah Stacey of the Mail on Sunday wrote about The Kidstime Foundation. The article focuses on the plight of the young carers affected by parental mental health and tells the story of Kirsty Tahta-Wraith and Ambeya Begum, two former attendees of Kidstime Workshops who now work with the Foundation on various projects and frequently attend Kidstime Workshops as young helper.
Kidstime also allows Ambeya to drop her own defences: ‘I try to put on a front that I am always happy. Kidstime gives me a way of releasing my stress. It allows my emotions to flow. I am not angry with my mother but there are times I think it is too late for me to build a relationship: the only thing that I can do is to give her her medicine. That’s the most I can do. She has lost her qualities of being a mum. ’
Ambeya is clear that Kidstime should be available in every school. ‘It’s one of the only charities that teach children what mental illness is and how they can cope with it.
‘I always thought I was the only one but when I go to Kidstime every month, I see so many children. I would like to see all the kids in this situation learn that you can look after your own emotions as well as coping with mental illness as a family.’
Ambeya is now a trustee of the Kidstime Foundation.
Kirsty and her sister were referred to Kidstime 12 years ago. ‘Going to the sessions helped me to understand what to expect and how to deal with my dad’s episodes. It made them much less scary and took away most of the worry and panic.’
One problem Kirsty found was that ‘you can’t talk about it at school because you know it makes you different. But at Kidstime, children talk about mental health all the time so you can stop holding in your feelings. It’s comforting, and I felt more accepting of my dad.’
You can read the article here.
Our article is published as part of the Guardian and Observer Christmas Appeal.
On December 13th the Guardian journalist Bim Adewunmi wrote an article highlighting the work of The Kidstime Foundation featuring a number of young people who have attended and still attend Kidstime Workshops and have been part of the Who Cares? Project.
Angel, 16, whose mum has schizophrenia, has been coming to workshops for two years. She doodles and shuffles a deck of cards while the others speak. “In primary school, I was alone. I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” she says. “My mum was the only thing.”
Kidstime was a chance to meet other kids who had similar – and not so similar – home situations. “I liked meeting people who had different experiences – some worse, some better – and learning how they deal with it.” For her, the casual “mentoring” works in both directions. “If they’re younger, you can give them advice, and if they’re older you can get advice.” Everyone nods. “It’s not therapy – we’re all normal here, we don’t think we’re weird ‘cos ‘our mums are crazy’ – it’s support.” That support is something everyone in the room feels passionately about.
You can read the article here.
At the end of the session, the young people talk excitedly and loudly. But the chatter is filled with ideas on how to make Kidstime even bigger and far-reaching. There’s much to be done, and they’re eager to get started.
The Kidstime Foundation has been selected as part of the Guardian and Observer Christmas Appeal.
On November 28th The Guardian and Observer launched their Christmas Charity Appeal. This year’s appeal theme is one of our most common and under-acknowledged health issues: mental illness.
“Our Christmas appeal will raise money for nine superb UK-based charities. Each offers innovative services in their particular areas of expertise, but all have a common mission, which is one we as a media organisation share: to challenge stigma and create more positive societal attitudes towards mental illness.”
Alan Rusbridge – Editor of The Guardian
We’re delighted to get the support and promotion this appeal will bring but also to be part of the discussion around mental health issues and those that need the support we can offer.
“Austerity and cuts have not been kind to mental health services, or the people who rely on them. Our appeal is a recognition of the importance of this vital area of health and social services, and a tribute to the innovative contribution of the voluntary sector.
Last year Guardian and Observer readers helped raise more than £340,000 for charities … Over the next few weeks our journalists will demonstrate – through words, film, pictures and data, online on our Christmas appeal blog, and via our two papers – the brilliant work of our appeal charities.”
You can read more at The Guardian.
Young Carers Call to Action: No Suits event at London Zoo.
On Thursday 30th October around 25 young carers and young adult carers hosted a Call to Action “No Suits” event at London Zoo. Health professionals and decision-makers joined the young people to meet them, hear their stories, and discuss what health services can do to better support young carers and their families.
YCiF Champion Charlie spoke to Dr Alan Cooklin, watch the video below:
Filming of Who Cares? Masterclass.
Young people from Kidstime workshops gathered to meet a Children’s Mental Health Worker, an Adult Mental Health Worker and an Approved Social Worker to quiz them on many frequently asked questions our young people have about mental health and being affected by a parent’s mental illness. The finished film will become part of the Who Cares? Project and be shown on the Kidstime Foundation website.
Article in the Western Morning News.
The Western Morning News visited the filming of the Who Cares? Project at Stoke Damerel Community College to see the impact on the pupils involved. More than 30 of the College’s Year 10 GCSE Drama students took park in four days of filming at the college and on location. Students also contributed to the final script through improvisation sessions with the director and writer.
For one pupil the project changed his life. Joel Archibald’s story emerged during a workshop with the teenagers. He finally found the ability to break his self-imposed silence. He said he believed the film would help other young people. “It’s nice to see someone in your situation and watch what they do. When I saw the first Kidstime ‘Who Cares?’ film I thought that was me. That’s what I am hoping [our] film will achieve.”
All the young people who took part in the project found the project very insightful to the world of those caring for parents with mental illness. Drama teacher Catrina Garratt said “I was very proud of these young people and the care they took for each other.” She said classmates often do not realise that a young carer needs their help and support.