Meet Olivia, a Cornish blogger sharing her experiences as a young carer

Posted by / Wednesday 04 May 2016 /
Liv's I pad 061

Olivia, 14, has cared for her mother for six years since she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) taking on the cooking, cleaning and caring role while balancing her school work and social life as best she can.

Recently Olivia has launched a blog to share her experiences with other young carers.

"Being a young carer can be a lonely and difficult experience and I’m keen to raise awareness of the issues young carers face."

"‘The Odd Pigeon’ shines a light on our lives that are understood by so few and will hopefully be helpful to those young people who find themselves in a similar situation."

“It's very difficult for a young carer to access the support that they need for themselves because they are focusing so much of their attention on the person that they care for. Action for Children, through Kernow Young Carers, were able to offer me the little things like knowing other young people who were in similar situations to the larger things like days out that would allow me to relax and breathe for a few hours.  I want people to know they are not alone and that there is help and support out there.”

We recently caught up with Olivia to find out a bit more about her and her blog:

Why did you decide to start writing a blog?

My decision to start a blog stemmed from my urge to share my experiences as a Young Carer, I have been caring since I was eight and have felt a passion for spreading awareness. Since a very young age, I have always held a enjoyment for writing, a blog seemed like the right media for me and therefore ‘The Odd Pigeon’ was born.

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What has the response been like so far?

The response to my blog has been extremely overwhelming, I never anticipated it to go beyond the eyes of my friends and family. I wouldn’t have done it without the amazing support I have received, as a result I have regular viewers in 15 countries – for me an astonishing prospect.

How important is it that young carers don’t feel isolated and realise there are others in the same situation?

Extremely important! The aim of my blog is to spread awareness for both MS and Young Carers, but also to let Young Carers know wherever you are, you have a voice and you are never alone. Always have courage, because you are extraordinary.

 

How important is it that Young Carers realise there is help out there?

Many carers don’t realise they are Young Carers and that’s why identifying the extensive amount out there is so crucial. I found help when I realised I was a Carer, three years after my Mother’s diagnosis, you can find help by talking to an adult, perhaps at school or college. Please just seek help, you are never alone...

How helpful has Kernow Young Carers been to you?

Kernow Young Carers has helped me in many ways, they have allowed me to socialise with other Young Carers within my own free will. My favourite characteristic that KYC provide is the capability for you to have as much or as little support as you feel necessary. I attended many events including the Young Carer Festival, KYC aided me in feeling sufficient to cope with Caring.

 

Liz Digweed, family support practitioner for Action for Children’s Kernow Young Carers said: “We currently support around 850 young carers in Cornwall but there are many more young people in the county who care for someone at home and go unrecognised.

“Olivia’s excellent blog is a great way to highlight the support these young people need caring for family members who may be ill or have a disability. Fellow young carers will realise they are not alone and the wider public will get critical insight into the issues these amazing young people face. Kernow Young Carers wants all young carers in the county to be identified early, receive the support they need and be recognised for the unpaid care they provide.”

She added: “People are often amazed when they learn how much our young carers do to help their families. Life can be tough so it’s crucial that we offer them support in a fun and friendly environment, as well as the chance to have a break and simply enjoy being young.”

From everyone here at Action for Children we'd like to thank Olivia for taking time to speak to us and congratulate you on a fantastic blog. We are already avid readers and can't wait to see what the future holds for you.

Olivia, you're brilliant!

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