Life in lockdown is challenging for most people, not least the young carers who have an incredible responsibility to care for their parents or relatives who are unwell.
Aliyah is 17 and has cared for her mum since she was six years old.
Her responsibilities involve doing the shopping, cleaning the house, cooking for the family and when her mum isn’t very well, taking her up to bed. All of this, alongside studying and working at the weekend to pay for things she wants.
Since lockdown, Aliyah has had to leave her job due to isolation and continue caring for her mum as she is at risk if she leaves the house.
Aliyah has been attending Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust’s 'Young Carers' project since she was 10 and believes the project has offered her huge support and respite in her life. This hasn’t stopped during this difficult time.
She said: "The young carers project has been a constant over the years for me, it has supported me and helped me figure out my place in the world, all while having fun!”
Brentford’s Young Carers project has been running for over nine years, supporting young carers with group sessions to meet young people in a similar situations, homework clubs, weekly youth clubs, and activities to offer respite. Since lockdown occurred, Brentford have been engaging through online platforms hosting quizzes, drop-ins and contacting each young carer to check in on their welfare and offer support during this difficult time.
Aliyah continued: “The support has been great since we’ve had to isolate. I have had a few calls from Brentford. It’s nice to know that other people are thinking about you and offering help. I’m going to join one of the weekly online quizzes as it would be great to see some familiar faces from the programme.”
Kathryn Sobczak, Young Carers Co-ordinator, has noticed the transformation of Aliyah over her time on the programme;
She said: “Aliyah has been part of the young carers project for seven years now, starting off quite a quiet young girl, now full of confidence. This is really evident for us to see throughout the time we have known her. She has stepped up in the project to support the younger carers, acting as a mentor.
“In more recent years, Aliyah has attended our transition project to support her with CV writing, interview skills and attending to get an insight to the working world.”
Aliyah has also expressed a keen interest in giving back and volunteering at the Young Carers programme that has supported her over the years, when she reaches 18 and her time on the programme ends.
During lockdown, Aliyah was keen to share her journey and have her voice heard through NCS’ ‘Youth Rising’ Podcast. Please click here to listen.