Being a carer can be isolating and affect wellbeing. For young carers, taking on the sole responsibility as a carer can also affect education outcomes and opportunities to enjoy experiences which other young people take for granted.
For Chloe Brownhill, the challenges of becoming a carer at 15 years old, were compounded by a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.
“I had to take my GCSE’s in hospital on the children’s ward. I went home to look after myself and care for my Mum, who had developed chronic psoriasis, a disease which results in red and scaly patches of skin. The inflammation on my Mum’s hands was so bad she couldn’t walk or pick things up for herself. I lost touch with all my friends who had moved on to college, or jobs, and were living their lives.”
How we helped
Chloe discovered the volunteering opportunity at Women’s Work when she was 22 and initially helped out in the office. She soon began helping with outreach and supporting women coming into the charity: taking down their details and handing out food and condoms.
Chloe also supports the Wellness and Calmness sessions which are delivered by a counsellor, helping to facilitate the sessions and providing support to women who may feel overwhelmed and need to leave the room.
Alongside the practical work experience Chloe has attended a range of courses at Women’s work which will help her in her search for a job. These include Health and Safety in the Workplace; Food Hygiene, First Aid training and Fire Safety Training. She has also gained training relating to working with vulnerable women including Safeguarding Adults, Domestic attending (understanding to signs of domestic abuse) and Suicide awareness. All of the courses are certified by different bodies, including The CDP Certification Service.
Her achievements at Women’s Work have inspired her to gain more qualifications and she’s hoping to become a social worker. In the meantime, regular volunteering at the charity provides needed respite from her caring duties and continues to boost her mental wellbeing.