BBC Scotland’s River City star Gary Lamont joined a selection of Scotland’s influential businesspeople this week at the official launch of a new fund to help young carers.
The Hopes and Dreams Fund for young carers in Scotland is the result of a corporate business partnership between Fifi and Ally restaurants, the Beanscene chain of coffee shops and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers. The fund will benefit children and young people under the age of 18 who look after someone in their family who has an illness, disability, mental health or substance misuse problem, and who take on practical or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.
Fiona Hamilton, the owner of Fifi and Ally/Beanscene, set up the fund earlier this year. The official launch of the fund took place at the Fifi and Ally restaurant at Wellington Street, Glasgow on Tuesday 3 November and £5,000 has been raised so far.
Guests were treated to champagne and canapés and they heard from Louise Morgan of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers who spoke about the difficulties young carers face – such as isolation and missed educational opportunities. Young carers from the Glasgow area also talked about their lives and how they have benefited from the services provided to them through their local Carers’ Centre.
The Hopes and Dreams Fund will help young carers by giving them breaks from their caring responsibilities to pursue hobbies or further education and just have some fun. Young carers are kids and teenagers first and carers second – the Hopes and Dreams Fund will help remind them of this.
Fiona hit on the idea of helping young carers because of a friendship from her childhood.
She said: “When I was a child, my best friend had to look after her mother who had severe MS. My friend was only seven years old, but it wasn’t until we were both adults that I realised just how much of her life she gave up to look after her mother.
“The Hopes and Dreams Fund will be directly providing money to young carers to help them fulfil their dreams – whatever they may be. The fund will also help young carers by giving them work experience within businesses across Scotland.”
Gary added his support to young carers. He said: “Young carers often don’t have a choice. I find them incredibly inspiring and am happy to support them in any way I can.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers currently helps over 400,000 carers, including approximately 25,000 young carers, to cope with their caring role. The Trust gives information, advice and support through a network of 144 Carers’ Centres, 85 young carers’ services and interactive websites, www.carers.org and www.youngcarers.net