Volunteer driver Alison Morgan has told of her delight at witnessing the hugely positive transformation of youngsters she helps.
Alison, who has volunteered in Chichester for three years, is one of 22 volunteers across West Sussex, driving 36 young carers to group meetings once a week during term time.
A young carer is a young person whose life is affected by the care needs of another person, who may have any disability or long-term illness; anybody with a physical or learning disability, mental health problem, someone who misuses drugs or alcohol, has HIV/Aids, or is elderly and frail.
And in a recent survey, every young carer who responded said that the Volunteer Transport Project has enabled them to make new friends. Other responses to the survey showed that 81 per cent agreed it has improved relationships at home, 88 per cent feel better about themselves and 96 per cent had made time for themselves away from their caring responsibilities.
Alison said: “These young carers have grown up and I have seen them get so much better. They went from being teenagers that have loads of issues and then by going to the young carers group they seemed to grow up and make friends. They taught me a lot as well.
“I only do it one evening a week and I don’t think of it as a task, I think of it as a pleasure. I can only recommend it to others. I really enjoy it.”
Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “One of our young carers said the most important part of the Volunteer Transport Project is that it gives them the chance to have some time out to be with other young people. This cannot be under estimated.
“Life is often difficult for all of our young carers but the local groups show them that they are not alone. But how do they get there if they don’t have an adult who can drive them or if their dad can’t leave the house because he is caring for another family member. My thanks go out to all our wonderful volunteers.”
To find out more about becoming a transport volunteer, call 01903 270300.