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Meet Eryc and Trayc, the very young, young carers

Note: The following blog post is from Louise Morgan, Young Carers Services Manager based in the Scotland office of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers. Here she talks about Eryc and Trayc and their mission to help young carers in Scotland’s primary schools. This article was originally published here

I work with services which support young carers all over Scotland, but some time ago we had noticed that what seemed to be missing was an awareness of very young, young carers – among the children themselves and at schools.

Thanks to money from the Scottish Government we came up with the idea of cartoon characters we could use to give the

Eryc and Trayc, the very young carers

children an idea of what young carers do, what might affect them and their schoolwork as a result and signpost them to sources of further help.

We worked with an advertising agency to create Eryc and Trayc (the misspelling is deliberate…) who have their own website, which outlines what a young carer might do and what their lives are like. The site also includes an animated film, narrated by the Lord of the Rings star Billy Boyd which sets out Eryc and Trayc’s lives in a really simple and easy to understand way.

To get Eryc and Trayc started, we ran a competition for children in Scottish schools. We asked them to come up with ideas for what Eryc and Trayc would look like, picked a winner and then we used a professional designer to turn them into cartoon characters.

To launch the website and animated film, we asked for the help of Billy Boyd (again!) and worked with one of the schools that had run the original competition. The Scottish Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, joined us at the school to officially ‘switch on’ the website and watch the animated film with the children.

We’d also let all Scottish schools know that the website was about to go live, and invited them to virtually join us on the day.

Now, we’ve run a second competition, asking children to tell us what they have learned from watching the Eryc and Trayc film. The prize for this is to appear in the next Eryc and Trayc animation and we’ve been flooded with really great answers – demonstrating a brilliant understanding from the children about young carers and what they do.

Not surprisingly, as it is reckoned that one in 8 children shoulders a caring role, quite a few of these answers are from young carers themselves and from pupils who have friends who are young carers.

The next stage is to distribute a school pack for pupils. Again, this will contain information about young carers, what they do and where to get further help. We hope to have this ready by the autumn. We’re also planning to launch a resource pack for teachers, which will contain lots of useful information.

In the meantime, we’d be delighted if you took some time to visit our microsite – www.erycandtrayc.com to see the characters for yourself.

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August 9, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

3 Comments »

  1. Absolutely fantastic!!!!
    Thank you for all the amazing work you are doing!

    Comment by caitlinswish | August 9, 2011 | Reply

  2. This is disgusting – there shouldn’t BE very young carers. The support should be inplace so that they shouldn’t exist. I thought we stopped sending kids up chimneys so why should governments and social works expect them to do the caring – which is hard enough for adults. You should be campaigning to stop this abuse of children – not producing cosy little cartoons condoning it!

    Comment by Eun | August 18, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Eun

      It is shocking what many children do in terms of caring and unfortunately many are hidden young carers for a few reasons.

      A lot of young carers don’t tell anybody that they are caring. We produced the cartoon to capture the attention of young carers so that they get help to prevent damage and harm. The cartoon also lets other young people know about young carers (bullying of young carers is prevalent because of a lack of understanding of disability and illness).

      Some parents or siblings who have support needs don’t qualify for social care support meaning social services are not involved and young carers are not identified.

      These cartoons help us reach these young carers and give them the support they need.

      Thanks
      Gordon

      Comment by Gordon | August 19, 2011 | Reply


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