Maryam, Family Support Worker

My name is Maryam and I started working with SYC in 2011. The fact that SYC is a charity and does a lot of great work with vulnerable people made me want to be part of this kind of organisation.

One of the best things about working for SYC is that, as staff, we care about the people that we work with. We all want to make positive changes for vulnerable families. I feel that we are all passionate about the work that we do: I care a great deal about how I do my work.

‘Caring’ is an important aspect of what I do - it’s not just a job. I feel very privileged to walk into someone’s house and for them to let you in and tell you about their struggles. That is a very hard thing for anyone to do, to expose yourself emotionally, being open, honest and vulnerable.                  

The journey that I take with families is important to me. It helps us both to see the distance that we have travelled together from start to finish. Helping to resolve or address difficulties that families have had are important, as these can be the stumbling blocks in preventing them from enjoying their family life together. Reducing those stresses and anxieties is important, alongside creating some of the nicer moments like arranging a family holiday, so that they can create happy memories which is a really positive goal to work towards.

Family work is not an easy job. No one family is ever the same as another. However, when I have been able to work with a family to help them address their issues and enable them to move forward, that feels like a great achievement. Although the work can be challenging it is also extremely emotionally rewarding.

Jenny, 12 years old

I started to care for my mum when I was five years old (ish). She needs help due to multiple spinal problems, including slipped discs. This affects her ability to bend and carry heavy weights. I do the washing, lifting, cooking and sometimes I help her put socks or shoes on. It is hard for me because I am an only child and I only have my dad to help with caring for my mum.

Compared to those who don’t have caring roles, I hardly get breaks away from my caring and hardly get out at weekends. A highlight for me about my caring role is that I get to spend time with those I care for. However, a low is that I don’t have a high social status with friends.

Before I joined Action Group I had support through SYC groups and 121 sessions. I joined Action Group because I want to help and support other young carers and gain confidence. From the group I have made new friends for life and helped make change for others. I’m most proud of us getting to meet Theresa May because it could make lots of changes for the better in future life.

Ben, 16 years old

I started caring for my mum when I was about 8 years old. She needs my help to look after my little brothers and sister and she also needs my help in lifting, cooking, cleaning, shopping, lots of things. I also care for my brother as he has cancer. I help him to feel better about himself and I play games with him. This affects both my mum and brother in a good way and it eases off their stress and anxiety. I don’t get to go out with friends as much due to stress and school work builds up.

My life is different to young people who aren’t carers because I have a lot more responsibility and stress on my shoulders. The highs of being a carer are that I feel good about what I’ve done while lows are that I have stress, anxiety and less time.

Before joining the Action Group at SYC I had no help but groups gave me a break from my caring. I joined the Action Group because I wanted to build my skills and confidence. I have increased my skills and confidence and got a break and made new friends. Of everything we’ve done, I am most proud of making people happy.