Smart Project Provides Artistic & Social Outlet For Young Carers In Dover


It can sometimes be easy to dismiss youngsters and teenagers as self absorbed and leading fun-filled, care free lives- the media often portray them this way. But for a growing number of these young people, the opposite is true: their lives are literally full of caring. Whether due to the disability or illness of a parent, their day to day lives hold a responsibility that would try the courage of many adults. Most of these young carers would not have it any other way- they see their role as carer as part of the fabric of their lives and they are glad to be there to help make their parent’s lives easier. These young people’s efforts have gone relatively un-noticed by anyone other than their immediate family in the past and it is only fairly recently that we may even speak of there being a young carer’s community. Thankfully times are changing and programmes like the Smart Project have begun to address issues such as feelings of isolation and lack of public awareness. It was just this awareness of the needs of these outstanding young people combined with a desire to raise their profile, which sparked Dover Smart Project to develop the young Carer’s Art Project, ‘My Contribution’. There are 98 families who have young carers engaged in this project, 75 of whom reside in Dover Town. The project is run for young carers aged between 5 and 18 years old, providing them with a place to go where they can develop their artistic talents as well as socialise and share life experiences with each other. There are also plans to host an annual young carer’s award event that showcases the work they have produced.