Hitchin young carers’ group saved from closure

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A LIFELINE group for young carers which was threatened with closure due to funding cuts looks likely to have been saved.

Herts Young Carers, which is open to Hitchin residents, suffered a blow after losing funding in May.

The group, which helps and offers support and respite for children and teenagers who care for their loved ones, has been described as a lifeline by those who use it.

If it were to close, carers and their families have said it would have a huge impact on users.

But this week, Hitchin councillors found funding in their reserves to keep the group afloat for a year.

Secretary Susie Taylor said: “In May, it was make or break time.

“If we hadn’t got the money in some way, we would not be able to keep going. There are so many ongoing costs.”

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The group used to be part of Carers in Hertfordshire, which withdrew the funding. Herts Young Carers subsequently broke away and relaunched in May.

The £1,900 funding it received will be used for essentials, with fundraising by members and volunteers supplementing.

“The money will enable us to continue for the coming year,” said treasurer Martin Hill.

“It will enable us to pay for transport costs for the children, and we will also look at developing awareness of our group – developing a website, logo and leaflets.”

Speaking at Hitchin area committee before a decision was made, one carer, named Zoe, said the group had been an invaluable resource.

The youngster has been involved in the project for several years, since she was 10.

She told councillors: “The constant support and regular meetings is something I really do look forward to.

“It is invaluable. As I grew up and moved on, I came back as a volunteer as I really wanted to give something back. It was such a help to me and I know it would be such a help to future generations and future children, as something that really is close to my heart.

“The group have given so many opportunities to young people. It’s a chance to have a break and meet others who are in a similar position to you. It really helps to have those people who can understand your point of view and are willing to sit down with you.”

To find out more about the group, which meets fortnightly at Nightingale House, and how to get involved, email hertsyoungcarers@gmail.com or call Susie on 07961 392039.

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