THERE may have been a white carpet of snow, rather than the red carpet laid out at Ballymoney Town Hall last Tuesday night but that didn’t deter young people, their family, friends, support workers and school teachers stepping out to applaud the stars of the show!
The stars were the young carers from the Causeway Coast & Glens and Mid & East Antrim areas for the premiere screening of their film “The People I Know”.
They each received an “Oscar”, DVD copy of their film and a resource pack of further events and arts activities to get involved in.
This is the third in a series of films made by and with young carers through DU Dance (NI) in partnership with Barnardos Northern Ireland produced by Triplevision Productions and funded by BBC Children in Need.
Ten young carers, aged 10-13 years, came together for the first time between October and November last year for a series of workshops followed by two days filming in various venues in Ballymena and the beautiful location of Ballintoy.
The first cut of the film was screened privately to the young people in December before the public showing to invited guests.
Mervyn Storey MLA was in attendance and in his opening speech remarked how it was “essential that young carers received support and recognition whilst the arts can give them an outlet for their feelings and emotions and to convey their message.”
There are 8,352 children in Northern Ireland with the role of providing significant care for a family member.
The average age for a young carer is 12 years old.
Many are caring for a family member who has a terminal, progressive or degenerative illness and live in fear and uncertainty about the future.
Often these young people surrender much of their childhood to their family responsibilities.
Dougie Tyler, Young Carers Services Manager with Barnardos Northern Ireland, in his closing speech noted that they were running out of funds to do more work with young carers, then DU Dance (NI) came along with an idea and the funding followed which has allowed this programme of work to reach out to young carers and make a real difference.