Type Disabled children, young people and their parents and carers
Location Nationwide
Grant amount £50,000
Date March 2015
Website www.kids.org.uk

About KIDS

KIDS aims to work in partnership with disabled children, young people and their parents and carers to deliver services designed to enable them to lead more ordinary lives.

KIDS has been supporting disabled children and their families living in the Gosport, Fareham and Havant areas by delivering bespoke packages of care designed to meet the specific requirements of individual families. Although over the years the percentage of naval families has decreased as overall numbers have increased, the support given to serving or ex-serving personnel from the Royal Navy or Royal Marines has been invaluable.

A snap shot of their statistics show that for the month of December 2014 they were supporting 59 dependants of serving or ex-serving Royal Navy or Royal Marines personnel by access to a range of services developed to reduce the impact of social exclusion, enable disabled children to enjoy life, achieve their potential and improve the lives and educational attainment of children caring for parents with a disability or mental health issue.

The W Family

W. Family – AWi (Dad), VW (Mum),Tom W, 11 years old and Ian W, 14 years old

The W. Family were referred to KIDS young carers in January of 2011 by the organisation Home Start. Mum has protrusio acetabuli and arthritis both of which cause very limited mobility.

Mum uses crutches and a wheelchair to assist with her mobility. VW often finds winter months the most difficult as the coldness increases the pain she is in, making her less mobile.

AW is a Chief Petty Officer currently stationed on the HMS Diamond, Dad’s duty often requires him to be away from the family home for substantial lengths of time, and in 2014 he spent the majority of the year away on duty.

When AW is away on duty the boys become Mum’s primary carers. This means the boys take responsibility for household duties like cleaning, cooking and taking care of the family dogs. However, the biggest impact on the boys is the emotional support they provide for Mum.

Mum says: "They are amazing, especially when I am stuck indoors for months, they never complain or argue, they are just amazing". Mum has said without the support of KIDS charity, she feels the boys would become “closed in” as they would never have the chance to voice any kinds of complaints they feel.

When KIDS initially met the boys, Tom said: “I feel restricted and can’t take part in the activities that my friends do. I feel trapped in the house, especially when Mum is bad,” and Mum was becoming increasingly worried about her boys.

She said: “It can be emotionally upsetting when I am very bad. They are always worried about me which means they rarely switch off”. Ian has been attending the middle group of young carers and Tom attends the younger group for young carers support sessions which run once a fortnight. KIDS offers a safe environment with set activities that encourage the boys to talk to their peers as well as some much-needed relaxation time.

Ian went to Thorpe Park ‘Fright Night’ in October with his friends and expressed how it was nice to be able to go out with his friends. At Christmas both boys attended the KIDS' young carers disco, where they got to join in with games and enjoy free time without worry.

Mum attends the organisation's parent coffee mornings when her health permits her to, expressing how valuable KIDS support is to her children. She feels that the service not only gives the boys opportunity to talk about their caring roles but also the time away to be children.