Mina and Chris joined KIDS Hampshire young carers in October 2019, after I sought assistance from Chris’s school year.

Both Mina and Chris enjoy the interaction with other young carers, mixing with others and  sharing similar life experience. Both thoroughly enjoy getting out for the meet ups and being able to be ‘normal children’. Chris in particular loves that there is an adult who can play football or cricket with him.

During lockdown we received food hampers, activity supplies, emails and phone calls checking everyone was OK and asking if we required assistance in anyway. These were extremely helpful, especially to my mental health, knowing that someone was at the end of the phone not only for the children’s benefit but the whole family.

The virtual cookery sessions were a genius idea. Not only did they provide a distraction for Mina and Chris but they got us doing something together and taught the children a life skill. The virtual meetings gave both children the chance to see other people and chat to their friends whilst ensuring they got their time out from caring.

The hardest aspect of lockdown for me was the isolation and increase in my daily routine of having to encourage and supervise home learning. I become irritable and struggled to sleep. Mina struggled with offsite learning and seeing her school friends. Chris loved home learning but really missed football and his team mates.. All three of us become concerned about going out, even for the allowed food shop and daily exercise, and they were scared we would bring the virus home and pass it onto dad.

KIDS support is extremely beneficial to us as a family. Emotional support, financial support and all provided without judgement. We cannot fully express how invaluable it is.