£3,000 to pay for days out ‘best present we could have had’

Willow Young Carers celebrate 18 years in Leeds
Willow Young Carers celebrate 18 years in Leeds
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A YOUNG carers’ service has been given the “best Christmas present it could have asked for” after it was awarded close to £3,000 through the Yorkshire Post’s appeal.

The cash was donated to Barnardo’s Willow group in Chapeltown by Leeds-based home credit business International Personal Finance (IPF), through our Give Young Carers a Break fundraising campaign .

Willow manager Sylvia Shatwell said the generous donation could potentially fund special fun-filled days out for more than 500 children.

“A donation like this is a huge bonus and helps us to provide extra fun and breaks from their worries and caring responsibilities,” she said.

“I’m absolutely staggered by it. It really will make such a huge difference.”

The money is likely to be put towards challenging adventures such as a recent “wild in the woods” experience the charity organised with outdoor activities such as tent building.

“We like to put on activities that will stretch young people a little bit and maybe help them to develop a bit of confidence,” she said.

“We want them to try something new and expose them to an opportunity that they might not have had before – something that will create a memory that will stay with them for a long time.

“The most wonderful thing is that it gives them an opportunity to be together with children and young people in similar circumstances.

“That’s a really crucial part of the support we can give them.”

Some of the cash could also go towards putting on activities at new drop-in sessions the service has set up in other areas across Leeds.

“The idea is that once we’ve provided intensive support, young carers can then access support for a much longer period,” said Ms Shatwell.

“We are really trying to extend our reach as much as we can across the city.

“We’ve got to be very creative and this money is the best Christmas present we could have asked for for our young carers.”

The £2,700 given to the Willow service was raised by auctioning off artwork that had hung on the walls of IPF’s head office.

More than £3,000 extra raised through the auction will be shared between Leeds Mencap, St George’s Crypt and Leeds Samaritans.

Gerard Ryan, CEO of the company, said: “Following a rebrand we realised how much artwork we had in the office and thought it would be a great idea to offer it to employees and raise money in the process.

“We’ve raised a fantastic amount for some great local charities and it’s nice to think the artwork that used to hang on the office walls is now in the homes of some of our employees.”

The Yorkshire Post’s Give Young Carers a Break appeal is raising money to give selfless children who look after a sick or disabled loved one in the region the precious gift of childhood this Christmas.

The money raised through our charity auction and from donations from generous readers will help to send some of these deserving youngsters on fun-filled days out where they can forget about their responsibilities for a while and enjoy themselves.

There is estimated to be a hidden army of up to 85,000 young carers across the region and the number is expected to soar next year as cuts to disability benefits bite and more children have to step in to provide the care many families may no longer be able to afford.

The work of groups that support young carers has never been more important and the cash raised by the appeal will be shared out to such organisations in Yorkshire to fund trips and activities of their choice.

We have teamed up with members of the Community Foundation network in Yorkshire to distribute the funds and groups that work with the region’s young carers are asked to write to us to apply for a share of the cash.

To apply, email yp.editor@ypn.co.uk, writing ‘young carers appeal’ in the subject field, with a brief outline of your work and full contact details by December 31.

We will then contact you for more information and a panel including representatives from the Yorkshire Post and the Community Foundation will consider all applications in the New Year.