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Bright Carers: our award-winning programme

Bright Carers: our award-winning programme

We’re so proud to have won a Children and Young People Now Award!

These awards celebrate those who work day in, day out to improve the lives of children, young people and families, so it’s great to be recognised for our Bright Carers programme.

We’ve put together this blog to shine a light on Bright Carers, a sixteen-week online mentoring programme, developed with seven universities and specialist input from The Children’s Society, for 53 young carers in Year 10 to Year 13.

Why did we develop a programme for young carers?

The online nature of our mentoring means our programmes can support young people facing challenges, regardless of where they live or the support available at school.

In their 2015 report, ‘Supporting Higher Education Students with Caring Responsibilities’, the Carers Trust reported that less than half of young adult carers surveyed thought they had received good career advice, and only 27% knew that they could get financial support through a scholarship.

According to the 2020 Carers Trust UK survey, since COVID-19, 67% of young people with caring responsibilities are more worried about the future, 66% are feeling more stressed and 58% have seen an increase in the amount of time they spent caring.

Although young carers can really benefit from guidance, they can be hard to reach, difficult to bring together in high numbers, and find it harder to access career support than their peers.

How did it work?

Universities and Uni Connect partnerships recruited young carers to take part. They approached their school and college networks, young carers they had worked with before, and young carers centres within their regions.

Mentors were recruited from Brightside’s network of volunteers with experience in higher education (HE).

The Children’s Society supported programme design and provided specialist training and a resource toolkit for mentors, which ensured mentors could provide support and advice around the specific challenges and barriers that young carers face.

Mentees chose their own mentor through the matching tool on the Brightside platform.

Was it a success?

100% of surveyed mentees said they got on well with their mentor, received useful feedback, enjoyed the programme, felt their mentor understood their needs, and agreed that conversations with their mentor helped them to feel optimistic about the future.

82% attributed their decision about what to do after school/college, in part, to their involvement with the mentoring programme.

Understanding of where to look for trustworthy information increased for 57%.

Coping strategies increased for 54% of surveyed mentees.

Understanding of HE application processes increased for 54%.

Understanding of student finance increased for 54%

What did the young carers think?

“My Brightside mentor always motivated me to pursue my dream and assisted me in the application process, helping me realise that I am capable of going down this path. Career advisors at school are sometimes pessimistic about chances of getting into medical school, so that did sway my decision initially. However, through this mentoring scheme and the support that I have received, I am confident about my decision to pursue higher education, go to university to study medicine/ medical sciences/ neuroscience.”

Click here to find out more about the other collaborative programmes we have running at the minute and how your organisation could get involved.

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