Essex Freemasons help young carers to regain confidence

A new young carers club opens in Chelmsford thanks to Essex Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF)

With a grant of £34,877 to Action for Young Carers from Essex Freemasons, through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), a new young carers club has been opened in Chelmsford.

Young Carers are children as young as five years old, and any young person aged under 18, whose life is restricted in some way because they look after someone else on a regular basis. Young Carers through Action for Family Carers are supported to:

  • Be safe – including from inappropriate caring roles.
  • Be well – both physically and mentally.
  • Have access to regular breaks from caring and to mix socially with others.
  • Have choices that aren’t limited by their caring role.
  • Be able to enjoy their childhood and fulfil their potential.

There are approximately 10,000 Young Carers in Essex and 700,000 across the UK. They may be the main Carer, or provide partial care for their mother, father, brother, sister or other family member due to mental or physical illness, old age or disability. The person being cared for may have a long-term illness, a physical or sensory impairment, learning difficulties, mental illness or be affected by alcohol/substance misuse.

Action for Young Carers currently run weekly Young Carers Clubs at Colchester, Clacton, Harlow, Harwich, Maldon, Stansted and Witham on weekday evenings. Many events take place at club night including access to computers, games such as pool and table tennis, arts and crafts, life skills such as cooking and varied seasonal activities. Occasional trips and other activities run over school holidays. Clubs give Young Carers a chance to make friends who are also caring for someone, to have fun and a break from their caring role.

Also on offer is the Young Carer School Service which offers:

  • One-to-one support sessions in school giving Young Carers the opportunity to talk confidentially to somebody who understands.
  • Practical support such as providing support in meetings with teachers to explain why, for example, they have fallen behind with their homework.
  • Informal drop-in groups where Young Carers can meet others in the same situation and access information and advice.
  • Information on how to access Respite Clubs in the local area where Young Carers can meet other young people in the same situation.
  • Raising awareness of Young Carers to both staff and students through PSHE lessons, assemblies and Teacher Training.

Chris Vince, Young Carers Service Manager, said ”This wonderful grant from the Freemasons has enabled us to open a new Young Carers Club in Galleywood, Chelmsford. There is a great and increasing need for these services among young carers. We will now be able to support more young children aged between 9 and 14 to regain their lives and recharge their batteries.”

Chris Hicks, Provincial Charity Steward, said “This is the second young carers group we have been able to support with grants from the MCF, and is part of our continuing service to the community, particularly the young and vulnerable.”


Top (L-R): Chris Vince (Action for Young Carers), Chris Hicks (Essex Provincial Charity Steward), Maddie and Debbie Brooks (Action for Young Carers – Chelmsford)