Fri, 19 Jan 2018
Riley Collier collects his Community Champion Award from West Berkshire Council chairman Quentin Webb
AFTER a day at school, most teenagers love nothing more than playing on their computer or crashing in front of the television. But 14-year-old Riley Collier is not like most teenagers.
For Riley is one of the 700,000 children and young people across the UK, some as young as five-years-old, who are caring for family members.
This army of youngsters provide regular care and emotional support to family members who are physically or mentally ill, disabled or misusing substances.
Riley, who recently won a Community Champion Award for the selfless way that he cares for his mother Claire, also supports his grandmother once a week to support and offer care for her too.
This remarkable young man was nominated for the award by West Berkshire’s Young Carers Project because of the mature manner with which he copes with adult responsibilities around the home.
The project is currently working with partner organisations to reduce the amount of caring a young person has to provide, if it is too much for them.
It also ensures that the young carers get regular breaks from their responsibilities, giving them time for friends and fun.
Joe Sutton, the Young Carers Project lead who nominated Riley, was particularly inspired by his willingness and commitment to his caring role, whenever and wherever this may be; always putting his mother’s needs ahead of his own.
Riley’s mother describes him as her rock.
Riley accesses West Berkshire Young Carers Project and loves attending a range of fun and engaging activities.
When there, he always listens to instruction, is committed to the activity taking place, is polite, well-mannered and constantly willing to go that extra mile to help others.
The judges were particularly taken with Riley’s self-motivation in all that he did and acknowledged the extent of his commitment to his caring role.
Riley is just one of many young people that live in West Berkshire who cares for a family member.
But there are countless other young carers who may not even know that support is available to help them.
If you know of someone who might be a young carer, then you can email Joe Sutton, the Young Carers Project lead, at firstname.lastname@example.org
He will be able to discuss the needs of the young carer and to consider the needs of the whole family.
This column is brought to you on behalf of the West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board.
The board is responsible for improving the health and wellbeing of our population across the district by developing improved and joined-up health and social care services.
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