Bridgend Young Carers Project

Mike Church

In January and February 2011, Performance poet Mike Church ran a series of three workshops in the Solid Rock Café, Bridgend with 45 members of the Bridgend Young Carers Project.

2011 was the year the Bridgend Young Carers Project celebrated it’s tenth anniversary of supporting Young Carers and Young People under the age of 18 who provide significant care to another family member, such as a Parent, a Grandparent, a Brother or a Sister. The person they look after may have a physical disability or illness, a learning disability, is misusing drugs or alcohol, has HIV/Aids or is frail.

Young Carers undertake a range of caring and supportive tasks. Their responsibilities include: shopping, housework, collecting benefits and paying bills, helping with medication, assisting with mobility (lifting, supporting etc), cooking and cleaning, helping with personal care, reading and explaining letters, listening to problems, keeping the person that they care look after company, reminding the person that they look after about appointments and going with them to appointments, caring for brothers and sisters.

The sessions aimed to introduce an exciting opportunity to explore being a Young Carer via poetry. The poems were performed as part of National Carers Week Celebrations in June 2011.

In My Head
In my head
A chinchilla’s clinging
To the cage
There’s thousands of flying fish
And a human drum kit
All in my head

There’s a goodbye shoe
And some jewels
And a dancing asparagus
There’s the one and only
Superdog with his cape
And a pair of eyeballs
Turning into butterflies

In my head
There’s a fire breathing dragon
And some freezer bunny llamas
There’s a pot of pot noodles
And an umbrella shielding
Me from the sun

In my head
There’s a fish full of water
Looking out of his bowl
And a packet of candy corn
My head is a random place
Full of possibilities

The Door
Go and open the door
You might find an untidy bedroom
A sparkling white toilet
Or a different dimension
There may be an old man shaving
Or it might be the door to an empty room

Go on open the door
To find stairs to a random place
Or a ringing telephone
A sweeping brush
A box
Or a buffet for twelve in an old kitchen
Go on open the door
And see a lamppost
Or a single smelly shoe
You might find a jewel
Or any flower you like

Go on open the door
And find a cobwebbed dartboard
Or a wad of cash
There might be anything or nothing

Go on open the door
And find a fish
Or a heavy lead safe
Or traffic lights going disco crazy
Go on there might be
A white cloud
Or another door
Or a lost shoelace

Go on open the door
You might see the death of a mouse
Or you might see you or me

Go on open the door
You know you want to
And every door leads somewhere

In the young carer’s suitcase
In young carers case
There may be flowers
Probably red roses
There may be bright balloons
Or a hospital bed for emergencies
There may be
The oxygen of life itself
Or a pair of dark glasses

Go on open that case
You may find
Chocolates or medicine
Or maybe a laughing wheelchair
Perhaps just some happy thoughts

Go on open that case
Maybe there’s a phone ringing
Or just the Yellow Pages
Maybe there’s some sunshine
Or a painted stone
Or a photo album
Or some sensory lights

Go on just open the case
For music
Or presents
Or just open it because
There are happy memories

In My Head
In my head are dreams
There are lots of different ideas
In my head I have thoughts swimming around
Overlapping, buzzing and colliding
What am I going to do when I get home?
Should I hoover?
Should I cook?
Should I clean?
Or should I feed the cat?

In my head are lots of ideas
The dreams of being an actress
Or a footballer
Or just to be successful
And most of all to be understood
My dream
My aspiration
My life
All this I carry in my head
By Daniel and Ellie

The Suitcase
Go and open the suitcase
Inside may be the opposite of what you think
There may be a forgotten idea
Or a piece of random paper
There may be a talking puppet waiting for a hand
Or a staple gun for a staple diet

Go on open the suitcase
There may be a fire extinguisher for fiery moments
Or a collection of musical instruments
There may be a talking kitten wearing a business suit
Or oxygen to breath

Go on open the suitcase
There may be an apple throwing dynamite
Or dead people
Or magical medical tricks

Go on open the suitcase
There may be a smiley face in a triangle
Or the sniff of chocolate
There could be a pair of old crutches
Or nothing at all

Go on open the suitcase
You might find a camera on a pillow
Or just illness
There may be a pair of shiny trainers
Or an open Bible

Go on open the suitcase
And find warning signs
Or a mirror or a dancing tarantula

Go on open the suitcase
It might be something secret
Come on we’re running out of patience
We want to see what’s in there
No stop don’t open it
You might start a Nuclear War!

Why Are We Here
Why are we here?
Because we’re Young Carers
And there’s free food
Because we’ll have a laugh
And it gets us out of homework

Why are we here?
To escape nagging parents
Or annoying sisters
Why are we here?
We’re on the run from prison
We’re on the run from a rampaging rhinocerus
Because people are trying to convert us
We just like bolognaise

Why are we here?
We’re all psychos
We’ve all been kidnapped
This is the only safe place in the world
Why are we here?
Because we are amazing
In My Head
In my head
There is blinding boredom
A playing play station
And a sawn off school
There are friends

In my head
I feel trapped
And irritated
And excited
There are names and brains
And watered grass
There’s one Jaffa Cake
A lost necklace
And I need some time to chill

In my head
I’m cuddling baby brother
And chatting on Facebook
There’s homework on the table
A mirror and a bed
There are early mornings
And a Coke bottle
There’s sleep and chalk
And I’m wishing there was more sibling help
All in my head

In Our Heads
In our heads
Lanky legs overtake our minds
There are thoughts
Of how do I shrink
And how do I grow?
There are perverted penguins
Picking on a panda drinking Pepsi

In our heads
Are nagging parents
When will it end?
In our heads
We need more money
Don’t you dare think it’s funny?
I’m skint like my mummy!

In our heads
Worries start to enter
And darkness overtakes our minds
Waiting for tomorrow
To see what we can find
Gosh these heads
Are weirder then we thought!!

By Jonathan, Emma, Caryl and Sam

In A Young Carers Suitcase
Go on open the carer’s suitcase
Inside you might find
Medical things that help
You might find some patience
Or just a wheelchair
You might find a good doctor
Or a crutch to lean on
Or some magic wishes

Go and open the carer’s suitcase
You might find
Some love
Some peace
Or the answer to all your dreams
You may find happiness
Or just a lucky four leafed clover

Why would you open that suitcase?
Because you might find the answer to everything
That could help people
So go on open that suitcase

By Jordan, Thomas, Ewan and Chloe

In A Young Carers Head
In a young carers head
There’s a big yellow bus full of annoying people
There are purple elephants running freely
There’s a fellah with his hair on fire
There’s a skinny person making an earthquake
And a Kit Kat running away with a can of sprite
While eating a Mars Bar on the beach
There’s a Pot Noodle doing the twist
In the Cantonese Takeaway
While an exotic cow
Is being chased by a tired sheep
And all the while a pig smokes a pipe
And rolls over laughing into his cap
All this in a young carers head

By Laura, Kerry, Rosie, Jodie and Holly

In My Head
In my head is a brain
And a one legged catapault
There’s some boys and the odd girl!
There’s a French exam
And books flying around

In my head
Is a First Aid Course
And Facebook
(I don’t like Facebook)
There are kitchens and spoons
There’s a woman on the phone
And a sheep singing ‘Alleluia’
There’s an Ayatollah shaving
And a jewel
There’s a Bible with no answers to new technology
And a green penguin spitting
As its raining cats and dogs

In my head
There are pages waiting to be turned
In the life of a young carer
Constantly learning new things
Some heads are big
Some heads are small
It doesn’t matter at all
Just keep your head at all times

By Rob, Chelsea and William

In A Young Carers Suitcase
Open the young carer’s suitcase
You might find
A First Aid Kit
Or a mysterious key
Or a cure for M.E.

You might find
16 cans of coke
Or some rules and responsibilities
You might find some cheeriness
Or a robot that helps

There maybe nappies
Or photographs
Or some help for each other
You might find a chart
Or a babysitter
Or a slave
Maybe there’s a magic mirror
Or just a flea that’s funny

Who knows what’s in there
You might find a dancing dog
Or the perfect helper
Some papier mache
Or a cherry that grows into a friend

Go and open the carer’s suitcase
Because that will actually help people
And maybe surprise them too!

By Tia, Jasmine, Lauran and Teri

In A Young Carers Head
In a young carers head
There’s a crazy traffic jam
There’s a shrimp in a suit
And a monkey riding a motorbike
There’s a giraffe eating a Chinese

In a young carers head
There’s a man who’s a penguin
And a lion dancing the can can in a ballerina’s outfit
There is a single left foot trainer
And a wild rumba
There’s a platypus that can salsa

In a young carers head
Is a gigantic chocolate bar
And a wild car
There’s a wizard drinking from a cauldron
All this in a young carers head
Where we can laugh
And care for the ones we love

By Vikki, Jane, Kim and Connor.