A group of 12 young carers and vulnerable children will benefit from a first-time respite break this summer thanks to support from the Barker-Mill Foundation (BMF).
The Foundation has donated £1,500 to The Honeypot Children’s Charity in Exbury, New Forest to help towards the running cost of the respite care for the 5 – 12-year olds. The break will mean that those attending will get time out from demanding and stressful responsibilities at home in a safe, nurturing environment where children at risk can develop their full potential.
At home their daily routine often involves juggling school duties alongside performing a surrogate role with many of them caring for a chronically/terminally ill loved one. Others may also live with a parent with drug, alcohol or mental health problems. These children usually perform household duties which leaves them little time for their social and personal development and puts them at high risk of depression, anxiety and absence from school. The remaining children come from households which experience severe social, financial or emotional challenges, often involving abuse and neglect.
Adele Kaupaityte, The Honeypot Children’s Charity Trust Fundraising Officer, said: “Sadly, many of the children and young carers who come to stay with us do not have the opportunity to live a normal childhood and for them, going on a trip to the cinema or to the beach is rarity – having a break away from their stressful home environment is virtually unknown.
“They often find it difficult to relate to their peers, struggle to concentrate at school and have little time to play with friends and take part in afterschool activities. They are often the target of bullying and can become withdrawn and anxious. Many experience isolation, low self-esteem and mental and physical issues due to the surrogate caring role they take on.”
Many of the children seen by Honeypot are referred by social services, health visitors, young carers groups, schools and agencies working in childcare. Some are listed on the Child Protection Register.
Tim Jobling, Trustee of the BMF, said: “It’s heart-breaking to read and hear about young people and children having to become carers at such a young age, taking them away from what they should be doing as children, which often leads to problems in their own lives.
“Honeypot makes a huge difference providing a safe place for these children and young people to enjoy some rest and relaxation, while also having the opportunity to enjoy activities which we all take for granted such as learning to swim, riding a bike, arts and crafts or just playing in the fresh air.”
Adele added: “We believe that every child has the right to make the most of their one chance at childhood, regardless of the circumstances they experience at home. The support from the Barker-Mill Foundation will help us ensure that we can continue offering these services to young carers and some of the most vulnerable children in the Totton area.”
For further information about The Honeypot Children’s Charity, visit: https://www.honeypot.org.uk/