Honour where honour is due
The 2011 Census identified 177,918 young carers in England and Wales.
A startling statistic when sadly these young people often go unnoticed, receiving little recognition or thanks for the sterling work they do – just a few of the reasons we were prompted to do something for young carers in our area.
After some research, we discovered there were over 50 young carers in North Norfolk, attending both primary and secondary schools. Holt Youth Project supports these young carers in all sorts of ways, but, as a group of churches, we decided we could offer them a gift, some sort of sign of our gratitude for what they do. From a list of suggestions for Christmas presents, we decided to give each child a pair of pyjamas. Slightly wacky, but easy to advertise the appeal and collect the pyjamas, and the convenience of online buying was available.
The churches in Wickmere, Itteringham, Little Barningham and Aldborough have small congregations, so we were very hesitant that we’d achieve 50 pairs of pyjamas. Happily, other congregations within the Aylsham and District Team Ministry joined in and there was a welcome donation from the National Trust Embroidery Team in Oulton.
And the total? We ended up giving 128 pairs of pyjamas! A stunningly wonderful total. And all thanks to the generosity of local people.
The Holt Youth Project who received the pyjamas, placed them in a stocking along with chocolate and other small donated gifts to ensure that all the young carers across North Norfolk, as well as other disadvantaged young people, had a parcel to open on Christmas morning just like other children.
Julie Alford, Co-founder and Manager at the Holt Youth Project responded: “Young carers are even more in demand during the pandemic when other statutory services fall away leaving these amazing, resilient young people to pick up the slack. Young carers, some as young as six years old, quietly go about their responsibilities, often unseen, caring for family members. Not unusually they also have the additional tasks of household chores and shopping as well as looking after siblings.
Of course, it’s more than just pairs of pyjamas. For the young carers it was a chance to receive something personal in recognition of their tireless work of caring and giving out to others, for the church and wider community it was the opportunity to help others; determination to recognise and celebrate those who do such necessary and demanding work – but out of the limelight – giving, and expecting nothing whatsoever in return.
Proverbs 3:27 reminds us, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”
This summer, are there ways we as individuals and churches can recognise and celebrate those who, in whatever capacity, have quietly persevered in their work and actions in recent times?
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