Young carers across Australia now have the opportunity to connect online at the national Young Carers Network website www.YoungCarersNetwork.com.au. The youthful design is fun and simple to navigate, with six illustrated links to the Events, Story Wall, Forums, Resources, Bursary and eLearning pages. Carers Australia connected with young carer workers across the country to research and test the website before launching it during the 2018 National Carers Week, with events held to promote the “Your Story Matters” campaign.
Anyone, anywhere can be a carer – 1 in 8 people will be a carer in their lifetime. There are 272, 000 young Australians, under the age of 26, who are supporting a brother, sister, parent or extended family member who has a disability, a chronic illness, a drug or alcohol issue, a mental illness or who is frail aged. In WA, there are an estimated 40,000 young carers, across 9 regional states and the capital city of Perth. Providing this care impacts young carer’s finances, education, emotional and social lives and wellbeing. Recognition of a young carer’s contribution, connecting with other young carers and taking time out for respite can help ease the strains of these impacts.
The Young Carers Network allows young carers to find information on events happening in their state and participate in online events and e-learning such as “Ten Tips on How to Public Speak Like a Boss”; find resources; apply for educational financial assistance through the Carers Australia bursary ; participate in forums with other young carers, on a whole range of topics including “Managing Your Busy Schedule” as well as read and share their stories on the Story Wall.
Before the Young Carers Network was launched, Sam Eaton, the National Young Carers Program Coordinator, travelled to each state to personally seek feedback from the Young Carer program workers in each Carer organisation. To celebrate the website, a national “Your Story Matters” campaign was launched, with other community organisations across Australia invited to host an event on the 19th of October and provided with wristbands, stickers and handballs. Young Carers WA promoted the campaign on their social media platforms as well as the many school expos attended by the CLOUD Schools Engagement Program .
“Your Story Matters” is an ongoing invitation to young carers to share their important stories and experiences on the Young Carers Network story wall. There are tools to help and the first 100 story tellers receive two movie vouchers each. Authors can remain anonymous. The campaign will run until 20th November 2018 or when the movie vouchers run out.
No matter where you live in Australia, there is a Carers Association that can support you. Phone 1800 242 636 to be put in touch with your state’s young carer program.