My support network

You have just reflected on factors that might help or hinder you in achieving your goals. Now it’s time to think about your support network.

We all need some help to get to where we want to be in life.

Are there people you know who can help you and support you: family members, friends, colleagues or fellow carers you have met through your local carers centre, or other organisations you have had contact with or activities you have taken part in?

Look at the spider diagram in Figure 6.3. This shows a full range of possible supports a carer might have. Can you think of any factors to add?

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Figure 6.3 Map of carers’ potential support network

Listen to Jade talk about the help she has received. What would her network of support look like?

Download this video clip.Video player: jade_snippet_3.mp4
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Em I’ve definitely gained in confidence. That’s the number one thing. I’ve been able to try new challenges. Em I did the Ocean Youth Trust Boat, which was like a week away on a yacht. Which sounds amazing, which kind of roped me into it. But it turns out we’re working on the boat! We’re winching in the ropes, hoisting the sails, scrubbing the decks. But that was half of us were carers and half of us were sea cadets. And almost all the carers bailed except me and one other guy. Um, so it was quite difficult and the skipper of the boat wasn’t really too clued up on carers. Didn’t really think that it was a good idea that I had my phone. But I kinda overcame that. I put it into an award as well, so that helped me, that kinda opened my eyes a bit to kinda see that there is kinda awareness needed. Em which kinda brings me to the next thing I’ve been doing. I’ve been going into schools, like primary schools and high schools, all within Renfrewshire, raising awareness of young and young adult carers. Em we’ve been doing workshops, assemblies, drop ins and that’s all ongoing. Em so I’ve been quite confident doing that. I kind of tell them my story and how I was in school and like what the schools could do really to help carers.
Confidence isn’t the only thing I’ve got out of the group, but I’ve made a lot of friends as well. It’s good to have friends that are in the same position as you. Or know what you’ve been going through and can help you. Or even if they don’t they can say I’m here if you need to talk to someone. It’s good to, like, have friends who are carers as well as ones who aren’t. Like all my friends are quite supportive of my caring role. Em they’re really understanding, but it’s good to have someone who knows what it is like.
I’d left school like I’d been getting bullied really badly so I was leaving and um with my caring role it was quite difficult to study and stuff, so I wasn’t doing very well. Em, but I left with as many qualifications as I could. Em, and I went onto college.
And the college tutor said ‘Oh well I don’t think you’re going to manage the next year’, em so instead of encouraging me to go on and do more studying and keep battling on, she kind of said no, you’re not really good enough. So that kind of put me down a bit. Em but I’d got told from a couple of friends, look that’s not right. You should go and see someone. But by the time I actually kinda went and seen someone, it was a bit late to go back to college. So I was like well I’ll try next year. So I was like well I’m not sitting doing nothing. I need out the house. I’ll go and see if I can get voluntary work, because getting a job’s not very easy.
Em I’d phoned up Capability Scotland and I’d said look are you looking for any befrienders or any volunteers to do anything? They said yeah come on down for an interview. I went down, the woman’s speaking to me and she was like, she was asking my interests and I was telling her about my caring role and stuff. She said well that’s really inspiring. I actually know someone who might actually be able to help you get into education, em or employment. So I went along to the employability hub in Paisley and they took me on a six month course called TOPS which is Training Opportunities in the Public Sector. Em, they took me in and they kind of helped boost my confidence a bit more as well, while looking for jobs, and being able to say I don’t think this is right. And the training placement they put me on was with the council and the job that I actually do now, em. So it’s really great to be like, yeah, I started off this was just training and then I didn’t want to finish it so it was voluntary. And they said ‘Oh well we’ll take you on as an employee’ and I’ve been working there for a good couple of months now.
Yeah, like with a bit of help from my friends, they all kind of pushed me. Em because it was quite out of my comfort zone. I was quite shy and if someone said ‘no you can’t do this’ then I would kind of say ‘well fine I can’t’. But now if someone says ‘you can’t do this’ then I’m like ‘well who says? I’m sure that I can.’.
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Have you experienced help in the same way as Jade? Are there people in your life now who you think will help you move towards achieving your aims? Think about the people and organisations that have helped you or who might help you in the future with any plans you have, before going on to the next activity.

What does your support network look like?