After a vote of members Simply Sing, has selected West Norfolk Carers as our Charity of the Year!
In particular, we will be supporting the Young Carers division.
West Norfolk Carers currently support over 200 young people across the King's Lynn and West Norfolk, who care for family members or friends who suffer from long term illness, disability, or substance misuse problems.
The Young Carers division was founded as a response to a campaign by former King's Lynn and West Norfolk Mayor, Anne Cleary-Fox. Jane Evans, CEO of West Norfolk Carers, explains how everything started:
"Anne had been a teacher, and during her career had a little boy in her class who was a young carer.
One morning, he sensed that his Mum wasn't very well and didn't want to go to school. His Mum told him to go saying she would be alright.
Sadly, whilst he was at school, his mother died and that little boy was devastated.
Anne recalls this little boy curled on her lap sobbing and she feeling very helpless.
She promised herself that day, that if she was ever in a position to help such a child, she would do so.
So, during her term of office, Anne raised £11,000 for young carers. Then set about trying to find some one to help deliver the support.
No-one would help. Anne came to our AGM in her role as Mayor and part of her talk shared that story.
My colleague and I were very moved by the whole thing and volunteered to set up some sort of support.
Later, with the agreement of the Trustee board, we continued the work and the fundraising under the West Norfolk Carers banner - which we've done ever since."
Jane describes the biggest challenge the charity faces as funding, particularly funding the transport required to enable young carers to access services and support.
"Another big challenge is the cost of transport and bringing children into the groups - it's a significant cost - at one point we were spending over £300 per week. It's a tough choice, because if we didn't have such high transport costs, we could spend more on meaningful activities - however, without the transport fewer children can come and benefit from the groups."
The support that West Norfolk Carers gives to Young Carers can be life changing, but as the service is funded entirely by charitable donations, they rely on their community to allow them to provide continued support as many young people in the region as possible.
Simply Sing are honoured to support West Norfolk Young Carers, and will this year be participating in our largest Christmas show to date, with all profits donated.
To find out more about West Norfolk Carers, and their work with Young Carers in our region, click here