St. Austell Rotary Club Donate £500 to Penrice Academy’s Young Carer Provision

St. Austell Rotary Club have generously donated £500 to help fund improvements to Penrice Academy’s Wellbeing Garden for Young Carers.

A Young Carer is a child who cares for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.

Penrice Academy has over 65 Young Carers – and that is only the students who have come forward to make the school aware of their home situation; there may be more.

Located next to the school’s Student Family Centre, the Wellbeing Garden is a quiet space where the Young Carers can meet friends, spend breaktimes and take the opportunity to reset.

Penrice Academy’s Wellbeing Garden

The garden is complete with a chalet used by external companies who visit to support any Penrice students who require bespoke or interventional help.

Mrs Lorraine Farr, Pastoral Support Mentor and Young Carers Lead at Penrice, said:

“I was in complete shock when I received the call from St Austell Rotary Club saying they would like to donate. It has been quite emotional talking to them about our wonderful Young Carers. We have been blown away by their generosity.”

During the cheque presentation at Penrice Academy, Elke Deeley, President of the St Austell Rotary Club, said:

“We were quite overwhelmed meeting with Mrs Farr and some of the young carers. We are delighted and honoured to be involved in this important, really worthwhile project. We are excited and look forward to lending a hand where we can.”

Supporting Local Young Carers for Six Years

The St Austell Rotary Club are strong supporters of Young Carers and have been helping them since 2017.

Stuart Bradbury, a representative of the St Austell Rotary Club, explained:

“Rotary Club of St Austell became involved with supporting Young Carers in the community six years ago when we found out that various groups existed locally. These young people are responsible for caring for parents and/or siblings at home. This puts a lot of extra stress on these young citizens at a crucial stage of their development, plus saving the country a lot of money in care expenses. Over the past six years, St Austell Rotary Club has provided funds to give Young Carers fun days out and small presents during Covid-19 as a thank you for what they do.”

He continued:

“Following a recent chat with a teacher from Penrice Academy, we were made aware of a group of Young Carers at the school. We then contacted Mrs Farr to see if we could help her group of over 65 pupils and, much to our pleasure, she quickly arranged a meeting. Mrs Farr explained how her Young Carers wished to improve their sensory garden where they and any member of school could go to unwind. Our club has donated £500 to help fund these improvements to the garden and the club look forward to further help and support in the future.”

“Unsung Superheroes”

Mrs Farr continued:

“Within our community, these young people are the glue that holds together their families and I admire them so much. We really see our Young Carers as unsung superheroes.”

A pair of young carers at Penrice who are sisters said:

“Thank you so much to the Rotary Club – it means a lot to have people in the local community supporting us!”

Speak Up

The sisters continued:

“If you are an unidentified Young Carer at Penrice, I think it is good to let the school know. You could be going through a hard time at home, but making yourself known will give you a support network including likeminded students and caring teachers.”

The older sister added:

“As for my story, it was actually my younger sister who first spoke to Mrs Farr about our home circumstances. We then had a meeting with the school where we were invited to join in with the Young Carers’ community at Penrice. Being a part of the community was completely optional, but we were very grateful for the support.”

Penrice Academy continues to run weekly Young Carers’ drop-in sessions every Wednesday at breaktimes and lunchtimes in Mr Johnson’s classroom (formerly known as the Thrive Classroom) located next to the Year 7 yard.

Parents and carers of Penrice are also encouraged to contact Mrs Farr if they feel their child would benefit from Young Carer support.

How will the money be spent?

Penrice intends to spend some of the donation on new garden benches, creating more seating areas for Young Carers to use the garden, even when the grass is slightly damp.

The school has also received a large number of bulbs and seeds from the Rotary Club and are therefore planning a ‘planting party’ with students and staff in early Spring.

St Austell Rotary Club meets at the Britannia Inn, Tregrehan, St Austell on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Arrivals are 6:00pm ready for a 6:15pm start.

Penrice Academy thanks the St. Austell Rotary Club for their generosity and for visiting to meet some of our unsung heroes in person.

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