Five years ago I was lucky enough to meet with Lynsey O’Sullivan, Engagement Manager at The Lowry. She was looking for ways to engage some of the city’s most disaffected and isolated young people with the arts, and I was looking for ways for young carers to be able to tell their stories, raise awareness of their issues and take ownership of their service and lives.
I will probably encounter one of the proudest nights of my life later this month as the now well established, and award winning, partnership between Salford Young Carers Service and The Lowry produces its fifth most ambitious and biggest show case event. Who Cares? Will bring together the work of Salford Young Carers Service and The Lowry in to a brand new play using words direct from our young carer’s mouths.
Lots can be said about the ten young carers who have worked with We Are Stone Soup and ten young people from Gorse Hill Studios in Trafford and the drama they have produced. Lots more can be said about the four amazing young people who have worked for ten months with LUNG Theatre Company scripting the stunning play that will see its world premiere on Tue 22 Nov 2016 , but Who Cares? for me is even bigger than that…
The brand new play can only have been put together through the incredible partnership that has worked with over 100 young carers in the city. From the first project which saw young carers acting with Maxine Peake and producing the film We Are Not Different We Just Do Different Things, we have seen young carers develop in ways that would not have been able to happen without this partnership with The Lowry.
Young people who are now brimming with both confidence & pride. Young carers who are no longer hiding, embarrassed or ashamed, but standing up, telling their stories and fighting to get recognition for all the other young carers who are out there. Young people who now have the confidence to take ownership of their Services, their projects, their lives.
This journey has taken five years from the initial meeting between myself and Lynsey, and it has been worth every small step we have taken together. As Salford Young Carers Service I cannot say how proud we are of our partnership with The Lowry, what I can say we will be back again for a showcase next year………….
Thank you to everyone at The Lowry and Salford City Council for their continued support for unpaid family carers in the city and all Gaddum’s Salford Young Carers Workers, who have worked on and supported the Project.
Written by Paul Moran, Manager at Salford Carers Centre