Unsung hero: Sean Jameson

Former young carer Sean Jameson is giving back to the charity that shaped his future and helping other youngsters to flourish too

As well as striving to fulfil a crucial role in their family unit, a young carer is more likely to be bullied and come from a one-parent family in a low income household. Time pressures can make it difficult to attend school or take part in hobbies leaving them isolated. All in all it’s not a great start in life and one that people can find hard to shake. Sean Jameson was set on a path of caring for his mother aged just five when his father left home. While the situation was normal for him, the help he received from specialist charity Spurgeons years later was instrumental in turning his life around. Like many of the young carers referred to Spurgeons, Sean was reluctant to embrace the charity’s help and activities, but slowly opened up and felt the difference. So much so that aged 16, Sean entered Spurgeon’s peer mentoring programme, then became an official volunteer and in 2013 was appointed a full-time family support worker. Now 21, Sean is relishing his rewarding role and said: “My background definitely helps me as does my age. I’m into some of the same things as the teenagers that are referred to us and they feel they can relate to me and approach me.” He added: “Young carers don’t see themselves as young carers – it’s normal life. They are scared of admitting their carer status and accepting professional help for fear of being taken into care. What they quickly realise here is that they are not alone.” When we caught up with Sean, he was in the middle of Birmingham Hippodrome’s annual young carer’s workshop which this year offered 60 kids over two weeks the opportunity to enjoy theatre themed activities culminating in a final performance with full production in the Patrick Centre. The carers also took in a performance of Wicked and crucially they met other young carers in a similar boat to them. Sean took part in the workshops himself as a teenager. Liz Leck, creative learning manager at the Hippodrome, said of Sean: “He was a reluctant young boy who stood at the back, but he came back year after year and got the bug. His mum used to ring up and ask when the next workshop was because he didn’t want to miss it. He is a credit to young carers and he’s made his mum so proud.”

For more information about Spurgeons young carer services visit www.spurgeons.org/young-carers