A Bideford-based project which supports young carers in Devon is calling on the public to help keep it running.
Bright Futures Devon supports young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 who provide care for members of their household.
Since 2012 it has worked with nearly 600 young adult carers who have someone in the household with a physical or mental illness, disability, or households with domestic abuse or substance misuse.
With the project’s funding set to finish at the end of July, Bright Futures has started a crowdfunding appeal through the Aviva Community Fund to keep the service going.
It is looking to raise £10,000 through crowdfunding, with Aviva employees eligible to top up the fund.
The crowdfunding appeal said: “Continuing the project means we can support people who find their caring role too hard sometimes, we can take a little of that weight off their shoulders and allow them the room to breathe and see their own future.
“Being 16-25 can be tough even with a happy, healthy family with access to resources. Add in deprivation, health problems and rurality and these young adults can lose sight of how great their future could be.
“Please help us to ensure they can still achieve their hopes and dreams.”
As a service which provides one-to-one support, Bright Futures is one of many which has had to adapt during the coronavirus pandemic – a time which has presented plenty of challenges for young adult carers.
Bright Futures’ Abi Mandeville said the project has been providing online support and training, both individually and in group sessions.
It has also been able to run craft, skincare and exercise classes thanks to video calling technology.
Abi said: “For me, the hardest thing is not seeing them very much. I will be in contact over video and it can be really hard, because sometimes people just want a hug, and you can see they are struggling.”
The project’s appeal said: “With the virus has come increased domestic abuse, a decrease in mental wellness, and often more difficulty accessing support, so we are actually as busy as we have been previously, just providing the support in different ways to suit each of our young adult carers.
“The families we support often come into the category that has means they have to isolate for 12 weeks, and are not supposed to leave the house so they are dependent on us, or other organisations, for deliveries of shopping or prescriptions, and they are more isolated than ever.”
For more information, or to support Bright Futures through the Aviva Community Fund, visit avivacommunityfund.co.uk/bright-futures-young-adult-carers-support