Andover Young Carers were presented with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Dame Mary Fagan. The Deputy Lieutenant read out the citation and the certificate, which was presented to Loreena Burlison, the Manager of Andover Young Carers. This is the equivalent of a personal award of the MBE, being the equivalent to a voluntary organisation.
Welcoming those present, Sir George who is a patron of AYC said that everyone was bathing in the reflected glory of Andover Young Carers for winning the award, and he thanked all those who were present who were either volunteers or donors. He said he was proud to be the MP for this organisation which embodied all that the coalition government was seeking to do in promoting the Big Society. Dame Mary Fagan complimented Loreena Burlison, Jim Neal the Chairman of AYC and particularly the young carers themselves for the work which they did. She said that AYC improved the quality of life of vulnerable people, and said there were many out there who could benefit from the support offered by AYC whom she hoped they would be able to reach out to.
Loreen Burlison gave a short presentation - text below - outlining the progress which AYC had made in its first ten years, and giving a glimpse of the challenges that lay ahead.
Also present were the Mayor and Mayoress of Test Valley, Councillor Chris and Frances Lynn; Jane Benson, a Deputy Lieutenant and patron of AYC; and the Chairman of Hampshire County Council.
Andover Young Carers is an independent charity which offers respite and support for children and young people age 8 to 18 years who sadly often have very little or no childhood because of their significant caring responsibilities for a parent, parents or sibling with a long term illness, terminal illness or disability; also children and young people who are affected by their parents drug or alcohol addictions, mental health problems and domestic violence.
There are also a multitude of issues that these children and young people face for example:-
• Low self esteem
• Low school attendance
• Low self confidence and isolation
Andover Young Carers helps to – access children from hard to reach groups, to provide support with issues relating to young carers through coping strategies and peer support.
We help reduce social isolation, empowering the children and young people to choose and make positive decisions which will affect their future.
We aim to increase educational attainment by aiding the Young Carers to develop a good sense of self esteem and to become more confident in their abilities to form positive relationships at home, school and with their peers.
We provided a range of fun , challenging activities and outings; support Young Carers in school, run after school clubs, home work clubs, counselling services, life skills sessions, sign posting to other support services and one to one buddying – all within the framework of Every Child Matters, enabling Young Carers to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well being.
Andover Young Carers ensures that children and young people with caring responsibilities have the best possible life chances following an assessment of individual needs.
There are 120 children and young people currently being supported by Andover Young Carers from within the Andover area and because of the work we now do, primarily in senior schools, we have identified that there are many more young carers who do not receive any backing from the statutory agencies; we are also aware there is a need for our support within junior schools. These young carers are dependent on initiatives such as ours which, to be able to continue and expand our support relies heavily, and has done over many years, on the financial contributions and goodwill of organisations, grants, trust funds, individuals across the area many of whom are here tonight; so from the bottom of my heart I would like to say a big thank you to all of you for your continued support of Andover Young Carers without your help and care we would not be able to support these vulnerable children and young people.