‘Best of the Fest’ online festival for young carers

Iain Gray MSP has welcomed revised plans for an online version of this year’s Scottish Young Carers Festival, following the cancellation of the usual festival due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This would have been the festival’s 13th year, providing young carers with a much needed break from their caring responsibilities and celebrating their contribution to their families and society. Young carers provide unpaid care for a family member or a friend, who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.

Instead of the usual festival, an online extravaganza is being planned its place, with Carers Trust Scotland bringing festival-style fun to young people through its first ever virtual festival, Best of the Fest. From Wednesday 5 August to Friday 7 August, there will be the opportunity for young carers to take part in dozens of activities and events including; mindfulness, yoga, magic shows, paint a-longs and live music.

The festival marketplace will also continue online, with organisations such as Young Scot and the Scottish Youth Parliament hosting live workshops for young carers and youth workers to find out more about the opportunities available.

Iain Gray MSP said: 

“Young carers make a huge contribution to society but their caring responsibilities can have a profound impact on other aspects of their lives, including study and socialising. This can often create additional pressures and have a negative effect on mental health and wellbeing.

“While it is disappointing the festival cannot take place this year, I hope the Best of the Fest virtual events will enable young carers in East Lothian to participate safely and find out more about the services and support available to them.”

Paul Traynor, policy and external affairs manager of Carers Trust Scotland, said: 

“We are delighted to be working with Scottish Government to deliver these new kind of festival activities for young carers across Scotland for 2020. The pandemic has been difficult for a lot of young carers and many have reported taking on additional caring responsibilities, feeling isolated, and feeling disconnected to their friends and wider communities.

“Although some young carers may be disappointed that the annual Scottish Young Carers Festival event has been cancelled, the small-grant scheme provides new opportunities for local young carer services to plan and deliver activities to ensure young carers still have an opportunity to get a break from caring and have fun. We also hope that our Best of the Fest virtual events will provide that festival feeling that gives young carers the opportunity to be children and young people first.”

This year’s alternative Scottish Young Carers Festival takes place during a challenging time for many young carers. A new Carers Trust Scotland survey shows the pandemic’s dramatic impact on the wider wellbeing of young carers in Scotland. The results point to a steep decline in the mental health and wellbeing of young people across Scotland who provide unpaid care for family members or friends.

Find out more about Best of the Fest and register to participate at https://carers.org/scottish-young-carers-festival/best-of-the-fest-