Youthwork & Music – Connecting Young Carers

16 March 2021

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Sound Creators is a targeted programme designed to address the specific needs of young female carers, led by UK Youth and delivered by six partner organisations across England. The programme supports young carers to take a break and engage in creative musical activity to support their wellbeing and as a powerful vehicle for meaningful connection with other young carers.   

This Young Carers Action Day Nick Harvey, a youth worker on the programme and working in the music industry, reflects on the role youth work played in his life when he himself was a young carer, and the role music can play in youth work.  

Nick’s story 

“So, my story as a young carer starts at probably around the age of 10, I didn’t really understand it very much at the time but it meant I had to do more help more support around the house with things that maybe your parents would normally do.  

Youth sessions were massively important to me and I rarely missed any, a caring role can make you feel very alone and this was a chance to interact with similar people.  

I was involved in support offered through youth work and I was able to attend a young carers group locally to me and meet with the young carers and chat about stuff, we got to go and have fun and do trips and activities, which was the great to get away from what was going on at home. Back then we were able to get home visits and 121 support which seems rarely available these days. 

Some people see any caring role as a negative thing but actually it can be a positive thing. It gives you experiences, challenges, skills really that you wouldn’t normally have, that is so useful when you’re growing up. I was given life skills and soft skills without necessarily even knowing about it. A youth worker can really support to harness those skills. 

What individuals can gain from youthwork can be incredible, it definitely helped shape me as a person. It helped me to look at how I could be as an individual as well as how I could do more things to help other people in the future. I have since supported other young people across all sorts of different youth work programmes. I still to this day use the skills and the knowledge that I was presented with in my day-to-day life, I use it in my work, I use it in planning. 

Sound Creators was an interesting programme idea and a good experience for us to get involved in. It has been useful and valuable and there have been both soft outcomes and developments that you can see, a change in an individual. It’s sparked our interest in further creative programmes and work linking music with wellbeing. How we have been able to adapt within the current climate to move delivery online and still be able to offer that connectivity and involvement – which is not as easy to do virtually – has been great. 

I’m missing music and missing working in music all the time at the moment and it’s that buzz and feeling you get from being there in the moment with people that you can get within this programme. 

I would think most people use music in general life, we drive to it, clean to it, learn to play it. I adore music, I work in the music industry. Music, for me, is soothing and energetic and emotional. Music can definitely be a good way of bringing people together, a good way of having discussions. It’s one thing that connects us all. Whether it’s interpretable or even in a foreign language we understand it and we can share our understanding of it what our interpretation is, and that will resonate with other people who have a similar contextual idea of that song or that album.  

Music is really a form of expression it’s a way people share their experience or the message. 

Using music as a conduit to deliver youth work on Sound Creators I found very profound actually. It’s those little moments you see sparks and mutual understanding so I think it links to wellbeing as well as both personal and group dynamics, group bonding, learning and really ‘togetherness’.” 

Sound Creators is part of the Carers’ Music Fund, which has been made possible by funding Spirit of 2012 has received from the Tampon Tax Fund, awarded through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Spirit of 2012 provided funding to cover the cost of alternative care and transport which are two key barriers for young carers.  

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