Warwickshire family speaks out about vital charity lifeline on Young Carers Awareness day - The Leamington Observer

Warwickshire family speaks out about vital charity lifeline on Young Carers Awareness day

Catherine Thompson 30th Jan, 2020 Updated: 31st Jan, 2020   0

A DIABETIC mum, who relies on her children for care, wants to spread the word about a Warwickshire charity providing the family a vital lifeline.

To mark Young Carers Awareness Day (January 30) the family has spoken out about the difficulties they face and the valuable support they receive from Warwickshire Young Carers.

The charity – based in Ryton – supports carers from aged six to 25 with one-to one support, activities and days out as well as educational support.

It is estimated there are over one million young carers across the UK, with around 2,700 identified in Warwickshire.




Jen Hopkins’ two children 13-year-old Oscar and ten-year-old Faith, help her deal with symptoms and support her as she copes with the daily demands of diabetes from changing her cannula – a tube attached to insulin pump – to testing her glucose levels.

She said: “My diabetes and health has been challenging, complicated and can be frightening, so I can only imagine how my children must feel. Especially as they’ve got older and realised that other mums don’t have to ask their kids for help or change plans last minute because they’re suddenly feeling poorly.


“Oscar and Faith and their younger brother Jack are amazing. They have had to learn when to tiptoe around, to spot if mummy isn’t quite right and to fetch glucose.

“They’ve accepted that we don’t get to go to clubs or have friends over all the time because of the physical demand I can’t always cope with.”

She explained how the charity provides a safe space for her children.

“They’ve been my rocks when I haven’t always been theirs, but they still say I’m ‘the best mummy’ and they still love me unconditionally. But, even in loving me and accepting my flaws, they needed something for them. Somewhere where the other kids wouldn’t tease and bully them because their mum looked exhausted or didn’t take part in the sports day races or appeared drunk at a party when she was actually hypoglycemic. Somewhere they didn’t have to match up to others’ perceived perfect lives.”

Faith also looks out for her brother who has autism and is sometimes teased – leaving them both feeling hurt and isolated.

But the charity allows the children to be themselves without feeling judged.

Oscar said: “I find Young Carers supportive and it’s a place I can put my worries aside for a bit because I do stuff I enjoy there.”

Faith added: “Working with Young Carers has benefited me by helping me to know that I’m not the only one living with a disabled mum and brother.

“I am getting more confident after feeling bullied because my mum and brother have disabilities. I love going to the junior care group because I know I can express my feelings and that people who can help me are there and won’t laugh at what I say.”

Jen explained when the school suggested seeking support through the charity she had felt ashamed and judged. But after giving it a try the family has never looked back.

“At first, I was ashamed my children were considered to be my carers. I felt like I’d failed them and was being judged by their schools but then I met project worker Sarah and she explained a bit more about it to me. I put my own reservations aside and blow me down – I was wrong! They love it.

“It helps them and that has helped me to come to terms with not being perfect. It’s also helped me to ask for help rather than hiding away or being a martyr to my disabilities. If sharing our story helps another family to take the step and not feel bad for doing so then that’s great.”

Visit warwickshireyoungcarers.org.uk to find out more and search or add #YoungCarersAwarenessDay #CountMeIn #Warksyc @warksyc on Twitter to join the conversation.

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