Young Carers Cardiff and Vale and growth of the club 2004-2017

History of Rotary Clubs of Cardiff and the Vale Young Carers Network 2004 - 2017



Rotary Clubs of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan

Young Carers Champions 

The Eight Rotary Clubs of Cardiff have formed a Network of Young Carers Champions and have campaigned for and supported Cardiffs Young Carers since 2004. We now support over 250 Young Carers in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan (there are believed to be 3,500) and have now extended the network to all Rotary Clubs in Cardiff and the Vale. 

A Young Carer is a child or Young Adult (6 23 years old) who is responsible for providing much care and support for a parent, sibling or grandparent. This may not just be because of serious or terminal illness, often mental illness or substance abuse (alcohol or drugs) are involved. Clearly such circumstances usually lead to poverty in the household and social deprivation for the child. 

Young Carers are a highly vulnerable but relatively unseen group. Their position as carers can expose them to pressures that often lead to poor physical and mental health and limit their personal development and progress at school. Most are quiet and fearful of what the future holds and become an easy target for bullying at school 

Young Carers make a significant contribution to the well being of others there is however a clear need to provide them with the appropriate support. Young Carers need time and opportunities to develop. Whilst caring for a family member can be a positive and rewarding experience it is vital that supports are in place to ensure that the quality of life and personal development of Young Carers is not compromised. 

Young Carers sit on a knifes edge often looking after their parents who are seriously or terminally ill. Rotary provides respite care and direct individual help when required. We provide a refuge for them to meet together each week in a Young Carer Club which we founded at Fitzalan with Cardiff Youth Services in 2006. We have now formed a Rotary Cardiff and Vale Young Carer Interact Club based at Fitzalan Young Carer Club to support the Young Carers run by Rotarians Jim Price; Melanie Falleyn; Barrie Cooper and Paul Johnson. 

Rotary lobbied for and jointly with Cardiff Youth Services open Young Carer Club within Fitzalan High School this provides a secure Young Carer club every Friday night. Originally with 12 Young Carers; it has now grown to 40. Rotary has made this a centre for the Young Carers and has provided BBQ equipment for the Club and put on Summer, Halloween and other BBQs and parties through the year. These BBQs are well received as the Young Carers often are no properly fed and often come to Club without a proper meal..Together with Cardiff Youth Services Rotary funded a chill out room with flat screen TV, settees and chairs; blinds; and provided table tennis table and pool equipment making it a refuge for the Young Carers. We also introduced cooking and Young Chef so that they can cook for themselves and their parents and siblings and have an annual competition. 

Rotary supported Young Carers through the following organisation 

    • Crossroads Give us a break project
    • YMCA Young Carers project Time 4 me 
    • Action for Children
    • Pavilion Centre Saturday Club and previously Fitzalan Young Carers Club
    • Rotary Cardiff and Vale Young Carer Interact Club; Rotakids and Rotaract clubs 

Cardiff Social Services refer the most high risk and the most Damaged children to Action For Children. They have their own Social Worker in addition to Action For Children and some are on the At Risk register. Some are withdrawn and find it difficult to speak or communicate with other children. These children are from 7 -17 and require one to one rehabilitation over a period of 6 months before they can be passed on to Crossroads or YMCA. No photographs can be taken of these children. Money for this Charity is extremely tight and we give priority to this Charity. This is the theory but Action for Children do not have sufficient funds to take all the most venerable children so they find their way to Crossroads and YMCA or go unaided. 

Presently 250 Young Carers are supported by Rotary in Cardiff and the Vale. Given the large number of Children, the wide age range of  6 23, and the varying needs of the children the; the Rotary Clubs have developed a range of activities. We do not duplicate respite care and support which can be funded elsewhere. So where a charity has funding for an activity we will concentrate our limited resources elsewhere and will concentrate where the need is greatest and where we can have most effect on changing childrens lives and outcomes 

         We provide direct intervention at request of YMCA; Young Carer Club or Interact Club or personal request

o    Action for Children requested a washing machine for 3 Young Carer they were washing by hand in the bath. Funds were donated by RC City of Llandaff

o    Action for Children requested funding for a school trip . Funds were donated by RC Cardiff Bay

o    Action for Children requested a watch for an 18th bithday this was donated by Cardiff East

o    Many Young Carers face the death of their parent and many live in shadow of it. 

         We provide Young Carer Respite Care 

o    Trip to Disneyland Paris run in conjunction with Fitzalan Youth Club Nov 2011 40 no YC 70 each subsidy. This is a new Respite Care trip lead by Jim Price of Cardiff Youth Services who has worked with Rotary at Pavilion / Fitzalan since 2006. Jim joined Rotary as a Rotarian at RC Cardiff East.

o    We have Summer and Halloween parties and BBQs for them each year.

o    We have established a Cardiff and Vale Young Carer Interact Club at Young Carer Club.  The Club was sponsored by RC Cardiff East Rotarians Jim Price, Jill Shortland, Loretta Dowers, Melanie Falleyn, Paul Johnson. The club took 20 Young Carers and 4 Rotarians to the Interact Rally at Morfa Bay Penndine Friday Sunday. The purpose of the Interact Club is to help the Young Carers develop their organisational and leadership skills and help them help themselves. The Carers loved the outward bound weekend and it was a time when they could all be together. The Dan the Young Carers Jim Price and Paul Johnson were interviewed by the BBC about the new club and Rotarys relationship with Young Carers. Dan and his team are developing a programme of events and has written about his thoughts on Rotary and the Young Carers later 

o    Sailing and Sail Training 

All sailing and sail training are a life changing experience for the Young Carers they are at sea working together as a crew sailing the ships and yachts. It shows them a world they have never seen; they come back with self confidence and proud of themselves. They can look beyond their own immediate troubles and look toward the future. They are able to talk with confidence where many could hardly talk before the voyage. All enjoy coming to dinner meeting the members and giving a talk on their experiences. All their parents thank Rotary for permanently changing their children and are amazed at the lasting transformation. 

Ocean Youth Trust out of Southampton 79 Ocean Going Yacht and sails for 5 days to channel Isles and Cherbourg. This was run by RC Cardiff and RC East Each year in May for 12 Young Carers. The voyage was introduced was introduced by Rotarian David Thomas in 1985 to give 4 deprived children a break from helping there ill parents. It has been used for Young Carers since 2008 and extended to take 12 Young Carers. Rtn David Ashmore of RC Cardiff leads this with Rtn Paul Johnson RC Cardiff East. The Young Carers come to Dinner at Rotary where they give a talk on their experiences and receive a certificate after all voyages. 

Challenge Wales replaces OYCT and is an 80 Challenger 4 racing Yacht out of Penarth and sails for 4 days in the Bristol Channel and Irish Sea visiting local ports. The advantage of this voyage is that no passport is requires. Rtn David Ashmore RC Cardiff leads this with Paul Johnson RC Cardiff East for 12 no Young Carers in May each year. 

Queens Jubilee Thames Pageant: Rotary Clubs of Cardiff Young Carers Network together with Challenge Wales Trust took partaking part in the Queens Jubilee Thames Pageant. The 72 foot Challenge Wales Ocean going yacht was the only Ship from Wales taking part in the Pageant. The Yacht based in Penarth Dock sailed to London and take part in the Pageant. Jacob a Young Carer with YMCA and who looks after his brother was taken to Gosport by Rotary, where he joined Challenge Wales on the second leg of the journey on 26th May. He sailed it to London, prepared the yacht for the jubilee, and stay on board through the celebrations. Rotary picked him up on Monday 4th June. Needless to say he had a great time He was interviewed by BBC Wales and met the Lieutenant Governor of South Glamorgan showed donors around the yacht and was moored in St Katherines dock by tower bridge near where the Queen reviewed the Pageant. The trip is lead by RC Cardiff David Ashmore and RC Cardiff East Paul Johnson.  

Tall Ships 3 mast Brigantine (called pirate ship by Young Carers) from Brixham to Barry or Swansea or Cardiff  or Falmouth to Portsmouth via Scilly isles and Ireland and is a 7 day voyage. The Brig will take a crew of 48 Youngsters and we normally send 9 (3x3)Young Carers in April  August and October each year.  This is supported by the Reardon Smith Trust and lead by Rtn Cathy Wild; Patrick Kiely; Barrie Cooper and Peter Coleman RC Cardiff St Davids and Paul Johnson RC Cardiff East 

Tall ships Challenger 4 racing yachts out of Portsmouth, we normally send 4 Young Carers in June. The Challenger is based in the old naval base at Gun wharf key Portsmouth near HMS Warrior and Victory. The voyage is for 5 days along the south coast and does not need passports. This is supported by the Reardon Smith Trust and lead by Rtn Patrick Kiely; Barrie Cooper and Peter Coleman RC Cardiff St Davids and Paul Johnson RC Cardiff East 

o   RYLA

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Outward bound Course for 16-17 YC and young People at Dolygaer we normally send 3 Young Carers each year. This is lead by Rtns Roger Williams Llanishen; Paul Johnson and Andrew Smith RC Cardiff East. This is followed by a talk to the Club and presentation of Certificate and like Sailing is a life changing experience with the parents thanking us for the transformation. 

All Cardiff Rotary Clubs have contributed to the Success of the Young Carer Network providing funds and Service for Respite Care. 

Rotary have raised Young Carers profile publishing Articles in press and local magazines. Rotary lobbies Welsh Assembly Members, to improve the legislative framework, and continue to press the Local Authority to improve its performance. We have helped the City produce a Young Carers Strategy; and have worked with Cardiff to open Clubs for Young Carers in Schools. We have helped charities survive and expand and have assisted the introduction of a further three Young Carer Charities.  

Rotary makes a real difference to Young Carers lives. We see them come in at 12 years or younger many are apprehensive quiet or withdrawn. We see work that the charities and Rotary do and see the children develop into confident well balance people going on to further Education and work. We now support 600 Young Carers but there are still believed to 3,500 in Cardiff and the Vale. 

The Charities have extended into the Vale of Glamorgan with the help of the Vale Rotary Clubs we will extend the Network into the Vale.

Chairman Paul Johnson & Secretary


Young Carers by Daniel Jack Young Carer Past President of

Cardiff and Vale Young Carer Interact club

What is a young carer?

A young carer is someone who is usually under the age of 18 and looks after a family member who has a form of disability that affects them in their every day to day life. Young carers their family; stuff their friends may not do. These could include: making dinner, cleaning the house, shopping for food, medication; looking after brothers or sisters.

Young carers projects have been set up all over the UK. Young carer projects give the young carer a break by taking them on a day out. This day out could be to any place such as bowling, craft workshops, theatres etc and usually occurs one every few weeks after school. Big trips out to places like Oakwood, Speed boating and go carting would usually take place on the half term.

My name is Daniel. I am 16 and I am a young carer, I have been a young carer for five years and my mother has MS (Multiple Sclerosis), being a young carer is hard as it limits myself to what I do as I spend a lot of time looking after my mother by cleaning up making sure my brother and sister are okay and helping my mum as much as I can, I have to balance doing all of this with going to college and trying to  make some spare time to go out with my friends so I can socialise and have a break. The system and support that has been set up for me and other people like me is incredible without it I have no idea how I could have coped, the outings that I go on have a huge impact on me as I can hang around with people my own age, who know what I am going through, this gives me the chance to relax and forget about the troubles of what are thrown at me. I have been on lots of outings and some of them include trips to theme parks, educational trips, fun and exciting residential stays and lots of exciting days out.

Some of the things that have been set up for young careers could not have been done without outside help from organisations such as the big lottery, the Henry smith foundation, the Rotary and much more, as young carers are a network of charities that employ over 35,000 employees to aid and help young people. Outside help from other companies allow young carers to go on trips and other things that young carers cannot supply

What has the Rotary done for other young carers and me?

Well the Rotary club have helped young carers like me for many years and have made things happen which I could not believe could be possible. The rotary club have spent a lot of time and money on young carers and without it I dont think people like me would have been able to do anything, people may think what they are doing is nothing but what the rotary club have done is inspirational as people have taken their time and effort to give to people who they barely know. Doing acts like this makes young carers feel like what they are doing is a good thing and that someone cares for people like them. Some of the things that the rotary club do for young


carers are; they have sent young carers on trips, courses and supplied them with things that people do not usually give them.

Personally for me the Rotary club have helped me by sending me on courses that will and have aided me for the future like RYLA which was amazing as the skills and experiences that I know have has helped me we everything, the rotary have let me compete in competitions like Young chef which I came second I and the confidence boost from that was amazing, they have let me go on ocean youth trust Challenge Wales and Disney land in the near future I will participate on tall ships. The rotary have also done a lot more by giving us grants, life l lessons and much, much more. The rotary have also helped set up an interact club.

In the last few months, an Interact club has been set up whose members are young carers and is starting to thrive. I have undertaken the responsibility of being the president which is a lot of work as I am trying to make sure everything is being set up and running without any problems. Although I am not doing it alone as I have an army of young carers who help me do this, also there are Rotary members who work closely and help as much as they can by doing as much as they can without interfering.

Recently 20 Young Carers from our Interact club took part in the Interact rally at Morfa Bay which aided us so much as we were able to meet other interact clubs who have been going for a few years and we were able to get information, contacts and ideas but more importantly have fun and meet new friends. At this rally we were able to say what are plans are and our expectations. We took part in games and activities which I believed helped us bond as an interact club and as a community/family. We gained a lot of knowledge and found out a lot of useful information which we have taken back and are now using.

Dan Jack



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