Thank you to Freemasons and Masonic Charitable Foundation Long before Coronavirus we had recognised the potential impacts on Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young Carers, following the pandemic we have an even greater concern and need to respond. With the support for the Masonic Charitable Foundation we are please to announce a boost to our resource. Northamptonshire Carers are pleased to announce that we are the recipients of a generous donation of £14,334 to employ a part time wellbeing and group worker. The first half is from the Freemasons’ national Charity (Masonic Charitable Foundation). The second half is from the local Freemasons’ charity for Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire. Background:All the children supported by our service are young people who help care for someone (usually a family member) who have a long term illness or disability. This includes Mental Health, Physical Health, Sensory Impairment, Learning Difficulties and Substance Misuse Problems. A number of the young people at any given time will be dealing with the terminal illness of a close relative. The care being provided is over and above what you would expect of the young person’s age and will be having a noticeable impact on such issues as their well-being, education and aspirations. This past year has seen us need to diversify how we connect and reach out to our existing Young Carers, and has made it even more challenging to newly identify Young Carers who do not know about our support or their rights to an Assessment. Young Carers have been disproportionately impacted upon due to the pandemic, with significant long lasting effects on Mental Health and Wellbeing. Impacts include:Becoming Isolated from their peers, missing out on opportunities, lack of understanding or feeling helpless to be able to support their family members. Caring can affect a young person’s: Physical health: Young carers are often severely affected by caring through the night, repeatedly lifting a heavy adult, poor diet and lack of sleep. Emotional wellbeing: Stress, tiredness and mental ill-health are common for young carers. Socialisation: Young carers often feel different or isolated from their peers and have limited opportunities for socialising. A quarter of young carers in the UK said they were bullied at school because of their caring role (Carers Trust, 2013). Stable environment: Young carers can experience traumatic life changes such as bereavement, family break-up, losing income and housing, or seeing the effects of an illness or addiction on the person they care for. Identification of need:We work with a variety of other support services and other professionals including schools, children and Adult social work teams and other voluntary sector services. Our main refers are still Education and the families themselves seeking support, we have seen a dip in referrals from schools since COVID 19 (for obvious reasons). We need to be reaching Young Carers within their communities, bringing them together for sustainable opportunities for peer support and better access to support through their educational settings. Improving partnership working and sustainable, meaningful support to Young Carers and their families. Recent Research undertaken by Carers Trust on this issue found that: 40% of young carers and 59% of young adult carers say their mental health is worse since Coronavirus. 67% of young carers and 78% of young adult carers are more worried about the future since Coronavirus. 66% of young carers and 74% of young adult carers are feeling more stressed since Coronavirus. 69% of both young carers and young adult carers are feeling less connected to others since Coronavirus. In presenting the cheque, Trustee of the local Freemasons’ charity, Gerry Crawford, said, Northamptonshire Carers plays an important part in supporting the wonderful and unsung work of young carers in our community. We appreciate fundraising has been severely restricted due to Coronavirus and are very pleased to help out with this grant. We know it will be used to good effect.