Young carers living in Queensland will receive extra support to overcome barriers to education with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland announcing a $380,000 Significant Grant to the Little Dreamers Young Carer Project pilot.
Little Dreamers, Australia’s leading young carer support organisation, will work with school communities to build kind, safe and supportive environments for young carers, to give them every chance of completing their education, thanks to the generous grant.
The Young Carer Project pilot, which has already been successfully trialed in Victoria, will focus on Townsville, Bundaberg and Brisbane due to their high populations of young carers.
A young carer is someone under the age of 25 who provides unpaid care or assistance to a family member who suffers from a chronic illness, mental illness, disability or addiction.
Little Dreamers Founder and CEO Madeleine Buchner OAM said the organisation was turning its sights to support more young carers in Queensland following the success of the initiative in Victoria.
“Young carers have the highest rates of school attrition and their caring role can also impact substantially on their social life, later-life employment and overall health,” Buchner said.
According to her, through the Queensland pilot of the Young Carer Project, the broader school community will have more inclusive schools, where every student will be more visible, regardless of their personal circumstances.
“Our vision is that all young carers are enabled and encouraged to attend and enjoy school and have equal access to their education, like their peers,” she said.
Each school in the pilot program will nominate a Young Carer Champion, who will be supported by trained ambassadors to work with other educators in their school to complete the program’s modules and workshops and embed the necessary changes.
Hand Heart Pocket CEO Gary Mark said that presenting Little Dreamers with the grant would assist the one in 10 Australian youths who were at risk of not completing school due to their role as carers.
“As young carers have been named in the top four most marginalised youth groups in Australia, we recognised the need to be supporting such an impactful program,” Mark said. “This grant is one of the first in Hand Heart Pocket’s recent move towards helping to improve outcomes for youth at risk.”