Oritsé Williams of JLS pop band fame has delivered a special video message to Young Carers at an event which is claiming to be the biggest ever young carers Christmas party in the UK.
The inaugural event was attended by over 150 young carers from across Dorset and organised by MYTIME Young Carers’ Charity.
MYTIME CEO Krista Sharp said, “’Operation Christmas’ has been incredible, what started as a small idea quickly turned into a much bigger one and the resulting party was beyond our wildest dreams. Up and down the country, young carers have had such a challenging year and they deserved to have the most amazing party thrown in their honour. This has been our way of saying a huge thank you to them for all that they do.”
“We enjoyed an absolutely brilliant time. One of the highlights of the event was a surprise streaming of a video message from Oritsé Williams. We are so grateful to Oritsé for supporting our young carers Christmas party. As a former young carer himself Oritsé understands exactly what it means to care for a loved one. He is an incredible advocate for young carers and by sharing his own story he has helped make young carers more visible enabling them to access the support they deserve.”
A part of Ortisé’s video quote included, “I am so proud of all the young carers throughout the country who have been going to incredible lengths to keep their loved ones extra safe in one of the hardest years of our lives. Every single one of you are extraordinary human beings and in my eyes, real-life heroes within our society.”
Krista added, “The young carers at the party were all sent party bags, in advance of the event, which included a Christmas jumper to wear for the online celebrations, chocolates, a book and other small gifts.
“We had a packed itinerary for the party; games of bingo with some brilliant prizes, including a star prize of a 4- night stay for a lucky family at the exclusive Bournemouth Beach Lodges, entertainment from The Funky Little Choir – a community based group of singers who love to sing and perform ‘random acts of choir ness’ by performing for people across the community who are facing tougher times. Some mind bending tricks from Magician Nick Bavistock and we were so lucky to have a visit from Santa Claus.”
Elizabeth, age 10 said, “The party was great and I met lots of new people. I love my new Christmas jumper and the bingo was so much fun.”
Morwenna, a young carer parent advised, “Thank you for organising yesterday and I am delighted to tell you that Jocelyn was equally as delighted as her brother Lucas with receiving her goody bag. I don’t think she will be taking the jumper off!”
Krista continued, “We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and support of Oritsé and also so many local people and businesses. Young carers are truly the most incredible group of young people and it’s been brilliant bringing them to together for some festive fun!
“There are so many thank you’s to make which have allowed this event to be the superb success that it has been; BH Live CEO Chris Symons and his team at the Littledown Centre, who very generously donated their space to us so we could organise the Christmas party bags to be sent out to the young carers across Dorset.
“Suroma Halder from BSK Events went above and beyond to acquire Christmas jumpers, Gemma Bailey from StaryEyed who designed and supplied over 200 of our Christmas jumpers,Fred & Florence who are part of the Tesco group for their huge donation towards the jumpers and for supplying the other 300 jumpers we needed.
“The Leonardo Trust for their donation towards buying every young carer a copy of the new ‘Roy of the Rovers’ – where Roy and Rocky the two main characters are young carers who care for their dad.
“Diana Humphries from the Sovereign Housing Association for their kind donation toward the cost of organising the party.
“Without them none of this would have happened!”
About MYTIME Young Carers
MYTIME Young Carers seeks to provide young carers between the age of 5-25 with the support, opportunities and friendship that help to level the playing field.
In the UK, there are an estimated 700,000 young carers, yet only 166,000 are registered as such. This means that the vast majority are facing the challenges of caring for a vulnerable relative, without support from their school or local authority. It also means that the scale and nature of the challenges young carers face are hidden and often misunderstood.
It is our aim to help young carers overcome these challenges, and to create a society which is more aware, inclusive and supportive of young carers.