It was a royal occasion for Angeline Ninamou, a 17 year old student who had a private meet and greet with HRH The Princess Royal last month.
Angeline, a student at Solihull College & University Centre, attended the Positive Transitions – Supporting Young Adult Carers in Learning and Work conference held by the Learning and Work Institute. The special event took place to help raise awareness of young adult carers’ needs and experiences bringing together carers, policy makers, researchers, managers and staff working to support young adult carers, from across the UK.
The private meet and greet in London involved a discussion about what Angeline and other young carers had been through. HRH the Princess Royal is the Learning and Work Institute’s patron.
The Princess Royal spoke about young adult carers’ determination to persist with their caring roles despite the other pressures they faced, saying:
“We can help young carers finish education, college and enter the workplace and give them confidence in that.”
17 year old Angeline is a primary carer for her mother who experiences Mental Health issues. She moved to the UK from Africa 3 years ago to be with her mother.
Angeline’s mum’s condition fluctuates between having good and bad days and therefore she provides extensive emotional support. Practically, she helps with day-to-day household tasks, including the laundry, washing up, and shopping, and administers medication when her mother is experiencing a bad episode. She attends medical and other appointments with her mum.
Angeline has had to overcome a language barrier to learn to read and write English which meant she is a year behind her peers at college and is in year 12 at Solihull College studying Science as she wishes to pursue a career in medicine. With support from Carers Trust Solihull, Angeline attended a workshop which the college was holding in the summer to find out information and advice; this led to her applying to and being offered a place at the College.
A bright and capable young woman, Angeline is studying Level 2 Science at the college and works closely with Carers Trust Solihull as well as the College Welfare team.
‘The College have really supported me a lot’ Angeline states. ‘I am given time to come to college if I’ve been up with my mum in the night. When I first arrived in England I was frightened that my mother would be taken away but I have been really supported. Solihull College offered me assistance’.
Helen Davis, Welfare Officer commented ‘The College offers extra support to anyone who is a young carer we just need to know who you are. We knew of only 15 last year but now we assist with 42 young adult carers’. If you are a young carer then the College offers carer cards which offer special dispensations to assist carers such as phones being allowed on vibrate in class, extra time to complete assignments and assistance or bursaries towards travel and study.
Angeline offers advice to other young carers, ‘Don’t hide or struggle alone if you need help, come and get support from the college, there are more options than just going straight into work to make money. You can still be a studying teenager and be supported. There is help out there’.
Angeline hopes to go on to study her level 3 Science course with the college and work towards medicine or physiotherapy in the future, she along with Helen, student Welfare officer and Sally from Carers Trust Solihull are looking to create Student Carer Ambassadors within the college to assist anyone in a similar position. The Student Services department are currently working towards the Carers Federation Quality Standard in Care Support status.
For more information about young carer support at the College please visit; https://www.solihull.ac.uk/16-19/student-services
For details about Carers Trust Solihull, visit their website.