A new podcast to help empower young carers has been unveiled as part of National Young Carers Action Day today (Tues, March 16).
Seven young carers from Bedford took part in recording the podcast series - called Welcome To My World - which is available on Spotify. They cover a different topic in each one, the first focusing on their feelings and emotions.
The project came together through Carers in Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Council.
Young carer Jamaal Otieno, who is a peer mentor with Carers in Bedfordshire, took part in the series.
The 16-year-old said: “The podcasts are a chance for people to hear about our experiences and they raise awareness of the issues and challenges we face on a day-to-day basis. It was really great to talk and bounce ideas off each other, which makes the conversation flow really nicely. We were also involved in creating the artwork for the podcast and the write up for each one.
“I averaged about 40 to 60 hours a week caring for my younger brother during lockdown, who has ADHD and autism.
"In my research about young carers I found we miss out on around eight hours a week in terms of sleep and school work, let alone time for any socialising and concentrating on our own wellbeing. Caring can be difficult, as it does take its toll on you and you have to be aware of your own mental health.
“I have also been working with Carers in Bedfordshire on a project where schools can gain an award for the work they carry out in helping young carers."
Carers in Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Council are showing their support for Young Carers Action Day by lighting up the town bridge purple, the official colour of the campaign.
You can find out what support Carers in Bedfordshire offers for young carers on its website, where you can also find the link to the podcast series.