Emma-Claire goes the extra mile

Like many of us, Merton Young Carers has found money a little harder to come by in recent years. The charity, which has had its funding from the local authority cut, works with young people who are significantly impacted by the health, disability or substance misuse of a close relative, providing them with opportunities to take a break from their responsibilities and socialise with other young carers. Now, thanks to the endeavours of a First Give alumnus, Merton Young Carers will be able to run a range of trips and activities this summer that would not have been able to take place otherwise.

Emma-Claire took part in the First Give programme as a year 8 student at Ursuline High School, when she and her teammates won £250 for Merton Young Carers. But she didn’t stop there. Inspired by visits to the charity undertaken as part of the programme, Emma-Claire and two friends, now in year 9, decided to see if they could raise some more money.

“We went to visit the charity once or twice. We were allowed to talk with the young carers, to see what kinds of activities they wanted to do.” The group was drawn to this particular charity because of its work with young people. “It’s easier for us to understand what they need and what they want, because it’s what we need and want as well.”

Emma-Claire suggested to her parish priest at St Joseph’s in Colliers Wood that the parish take on Merton Young Carers as its Lenten charity, and the girls were invited to address the congregation. So persuasive were they that they raised £742 in contributions from their fellow parishioners.

Emma-Claire hopes to stay in touch with the team at Merton Young Carers, to undertake more fundraising for them in the future, and to keep learning from the young carers themselves about how they can best be supported.

"The programme taught me to give more of my time, my energy, my efforts. I think it has made me more aware of the world around me, because I can see what other people don’t have and how we can help them, rather than just sitting back and doing nothing."