Emily’s story

Aged just 17, Emily has already spent a significant proportion of her life caring for her mum, Sian.

After a stroke in 2009, the family were hit hard when Sian suffered a second stroke in February 2018. These events have had a big impact on the family and Emily’s caring role has increased significantly over the last year.

Emily explains: “Although I’ve been caring for mum for a long time, I have a lot of extra responsibilities since her most recent stroke. I do the washing, cooking and cleaning, the family shopping and looking after our pets. Booking taxis, doctors’ appointments.

“I help mum with her baths and when she’s having a bad day I help her get dressed.

“Mum has done really well and is improving every day, but her personality has changed and she gets frustrated easily. Her speech has been affected and she finds it hard to get her point across, which can add to her frustrations.

“It has been hard. I was going to college less as I had a lot to do at home. In some ways I lost part of my best friend because of the stroke. I’ve had to grow up a lot I suppose.”

Emily has been supported by the Carers Trust South East Wales Young Carers Programme since 2014. She was originally referred into the programme by her school after talking to them about her care role at home. The Young Carers Programme has helped Emily in all sorts of ways – from giving her a break from caring for mum through to training and social activities with other young carers.

Sian is no longer able to drive and so getting around is difficult for the two of them. Emily knew she wanted to learn to drive – not only to to help her mum, but also to gain more independence for herself. However the cost of learning to drive was a major stumbling block.

Carers Trust South East Wales workers Arif Hussain and Kelly Andrews have been working with Emily for some time and suggested she apply for one of the small grants administered by Carers Trust South East Wales to pay for her driving lessons.

The small grants scheme offers unpaid carers the chance to apply for funding for something that will benefit them in their caring role, such as a new washing machine, a holiday – or driving lessons.

Emily’s application was successful and she has been able to make a bulk booking of driving lessons that will hopefully enable her to pass her test, giving her greater freedom and making it a whole lot easier to care for her mum.

12 months on and things are looking much better for Sian and Emily. Christmas was a big turning point for Sian as she was able to get back into the kitchen and make the gravy for their Christmas dinner – the first time she’d been able to get involved in food preparation in nearly a year.

They are also busy planning their first holiday away together in some time – they’ll be jetting off to Lanzarote in the summer.

Sian said: “I’m becoming more and more independent and slowly getting round to doing some of the jobs Emily has been doing for me. We had a great Christmas together and I can’t wait for our holiday – I got a new dress!”

And Emily has just had her first driving lesson.

“I’m so excited to have started driving! My first lesson was good – I actually drove the car for a bit! It’s really going to help me as I’ll be able to get to college more easily and help mum get to where she needs to be. And we can have days out together again, that’s something I’m really looking forward to. I’m so grateful to Carers Trust South East Wales for all the help they’ve given me. I’d never have been able to afford to learn to drive without the grant.”

Please help us continue our work helping people like Emily and Sian. Make a donation to Carers Trust South East Wales today.

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