October 14-20 was National Carers Week. It was a week packed full of activities and exciting encounters, and Little Dreamers was flat out on our mission to enhance awareness and support for Young Carers.
Here’s a quick recap of the key events:
On Tuesday, Maddy attended the Tandem Carers Award Night, celebrating the people and services who have played a major part in the Carer experience in 2018. The night saw Dr Neil Coventry launch the official Working together with Families and Carers Chief Psychiatrist Guideline 2018, which spoke of the importance of recognition and support for Carers, as well as early identification and engagement services. We know that Young Carers in particular are significantly more vulnerable to social isolation, financial and educational disadvantage, unemployment and poor mental and physical health. So, it’s exciting to hear about all the current work in the community to support Carers – and it’s only onwards and upwards from here!
Coincidentally, Carers Week clashed with Harry and Meghan’s Australian tour, and royal fever was hard to escape. Some of you may have heard Maddy’s brief feature on Neil Mitchell’s 3AW on Wednesday, as a prelude to her meeting with the royal couple. Maddy’s airtime was completely spontaneous, a little fun, and some great exposure for Little Dreamers for Carers Week!
Thursday brought Harry and Meghan to town! Our incredible founder Maddy attended a Victorian Youth Leaders Reception at Government House, acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our young leaders and the diversity of their initiatives. Prince Harry met Maddy (for the second time), and they went on to have a great discussion about her shoes and their previous meeting at Buckingham Palace!
In partnership with Merri Health, our Young Carers Festival took place on Friday evening. 230 Young Carers and families joined us for a night of celebration and acknowledgement of the amazing contributions of these young people. Being a young person with a caring responsibility can often take a toll on social life and maintaining social relationships. So, our Young Carers festival was an extremely rewarding night to see the faces of kids just being kids – and to top it off, the weather was amazing!
Finally, Saturday was our Dream Big Gala! The gala was a night of celebration, not only for our Young Carers, but for all the Little Dreamers families, supporters, sponsors, volunteers, friends and team.
Not only did we have an incredible night, but we also managed to raise $29,000 for Little Dreamers. This money will provide Dream Experiences for another 96 Young Carers around Australia and support our goal of ensuring that every Young Carer is supported by someone or something by 2030.
But the action didn’t stop there! Maddy made a fast recovery from the Gala to speak at Sunday’s She’ela festival. The festival is an annual one-day event of workshops and presentations, showcasing talented women of the Jewish community in Melbourne. Maddy spoke about turning little dreams into big realities – just as she’s achieving with Little Dreamers!
Then on Tuesday, our amazing team members Tasha and Maddy attended Government House for the 2018 Victorian Australian of the Year Awards. Maddy was on the panel, who selected the worthy recipients including Mark Sullivan, Alison Harcourt, Dr. Skye Kinder and Carol Matthews.
Carers Week is so important for our community of Young Carers, who are one of the most vulnerable populations in Australia and across the globe. It’s important that these youths receive the support and understanding they deserve – and that’s why we do what we do.
We’re so excited about the responses we received throughout the week, from both our events and media outreach. Little Dreamers reached over 21,000 people across social media with no paid promotions, with people generously reaching out to help us organise Dream Experiences and mentors for our Young Carers and just generally spreading the love!
So, we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who got involved in some capacity throughout the week! What a week!