Since September 2017 Knowsley Safari has been fortunate to work in close partnership with Cheshire Young Carers (CYC) to offer a bespoke programme of enrichment activities that have proven both enjoyable and beneficial to the young carers that participated.
CYC is a local charity that have been working to support young carers between 6 and 18 years of age, within Cheshire, since 1997. Since the charity was first established, they have identified clear objectives that have enabled them to proudly support over 550 young carers within the region. For many of the young carers CYC support balancing their caring role with growing up can be challenging. Therefore CYC offers varied support services to ensure the needs of young carers are met.
Knowsley Safari’s Learning and Discovery Community Officer has volunteered with CYC since May 2016. During this the opportunity for collections such as ours to provide a wider range of activities for young carers became clear and lead to the development of the ‘Animas of the World’ enrichment programme (Read more here – INSERT LINK TO ‘Ways to get involved’ tab’).
Young carers from Crewe, Middlewich, Winsford, Chester and Ellesmere Port have since been able to take part in outreach sessions and visits to Knowsley Safari. Sessions incorporated a variety of interactive and engaging activities from crafts, games and group discussions to handling animal artefacts and meeting live animals during visits to the safari. In addition to delivering the full 6-week programme to young carers attending the Crewe respite sessions a further 7 outreach workshops were delivered to other respite groups throughout Cheshire along with trips to Knowsley Safari.
Here’s what Cheshire Young Carers and some of the young people they support thought about their experience:
What did the young carers say about their experience?
100% of young carers enjoyed their experience
100% of young carers self-reported to have learn new information about the animals during their trip to the park
70% suggested the programme allowed them to make new friends
Cheshire Young Carer’s Activities Coordinator says:
Hayley introduced the young carers to fruit kebabs which we hung on ropes and delivered to the fruit bats in their cave. This time also included 1-1 time with all the creepy crawlies that went on to change the opinion of most that attended about millipedes and cockroaches being “disgusting”. Hayley also organised a bus to take us through the Car Safari which was excellent fun for the young carers.
‘At the end of each enrichment programme we would celebrate the young carers by presenting certificates of targets achieved. This was a great thing for young carers to take back to school as it is often assumed that young carers fall behind their peers due to “lack of interest or engagement’’. This outreach ‘work was solid proof that these young carers could be engaged if approached the correct way’
‘This trip was a perfect way to wrap up Easter with many new friends and memories made and experiences the young carers will treasure for years to come.’ April 2018
‘Another fantastic visit to the safari park for our Chester and Ellesmere Port young carers.‘ June 2018
Want you get your community group involved?
We are particularly eager to deliver our ‘Animals of the World’ enrichment programme to community groups within the Liverpool City Region. If this is of interest to you and the young people you support please contact Hayley Peart, Learning and Discovery Community Officer for more information.