Young carer Jordan first encountered Burnley FC in the Community when the charity’s health department teamed up with Carers Link to offer an 8-week Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food cooking programme at Burnley Community Kitchen.
Jordan like many young carers under the age of 18, has the increased responsibility of caring for a family member, in this case his Dad, and has been involved with Carers Link for six years.
Jordan said: “I’m a young carer – I care for my Dad, he’s needing 24-hour care. I joined Young Carers when I started high school. We have our own little group chat so that if we do need advice, we have each other.”
Funded by Warburtons, Jordan joined BFCitC and a group of young carers, between the ages of 6-18 years of age from Lancashire, for the cooking programme and a chance to learn how to make a variety of healthy recipes including homemade pizza, vegetarian chilli, burgers, soup and homemade bread. Taking place in Burnley Community Kitchen’s teaching kitchen facility, after each session the group took home a copy of the recipe, they had made that week, and a bag of ingredients to recreate the meal for their family at home.
To mark the end of the cooking programme, Jordan and the group of young carers were invited to Burnley FC’s Barnfield Training Centre for a ground tour, followed by lunch and a Q&A with Manager Sean Dyche, which was captured by BBC’s Match of the Day. Here, Jordan stated the huge amount he had taken from the programme, and said he is now extremely confident about being able to follow a recipe and cook from basic ingredients.
From his involvement in the course Jordan expressed an interest in wanting to experience the NCS programme but was facing difficulties affording to take part. Recognising the many potential benefits, it could bring, BFCitC awarded Jordan with a funded place.
Aimed at 15-17-year olds, NCS brings young people from different backgrounds together, aiming to integrate communities and providing them with essential skills and qualities to take forward in life. Following an outdoor adventure residential and a week living at a university, the programme culminates in a social action project, where the young people tackle an issue, they are passionate about, and act to raise awareness.
Despite being shy arriving on his first day of the programme Jordan soon came out of his shell and by the afternoon had plenty of friends with his bubbly, energetic and friendly personality, quickly finding his place in “Team Dog.”
In week one, Jordan and the rest of his team of 13 enjoyed activities such as kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, abseiling and high ropes. Team Leader of Team Dog Beth said that Jordan was a huge motivator for the rest of the team and completed every activity himself.
Staff commented that Jordan really came into his own during the ‘Come Dine with Me’ challenge in university week, and he was able to utilise his new-found cooking skills! He took charge of the main course, recreating the homemade beef burgers that were his favourite recipe from the cooking programme.
Weeks three and four of the programme saw Jordan open up about his experiences as a young carer and the struggles and challenges he has faced. He harnessed this passion to take on the role of Team Leader and together with his group planned and delivered a social event for young carers, in partnership with Carers Link who have supported him for so long.
Carers Link supports young carers who provide unpaid, often intensive support to family or friends who could not manage without that support. They could be caring for a relative, partner, friend or neighbour with a long-term illness, disability, or have mental health or substance misuse issues.
Some of the tasks young carers may have to do daily include, shopping, preparing meals, providing emotional support, washing or helping to dress, looking after brothers or sisters, keeping the person they care for company, making sure they are safe and giving medication among other things.
Many young carers often describe feeling stressed and upset, tired, in need of a break, isolated from friends and family, have no time for homework and struggle at school, have no time to see their friends, and can feel ashamed and embarrassed.
Carers Link aim to help young carers make new friends, give them time out from their caring role, provide one to one support, enjoy fun activities including cinema trips, bowling and eating out, take part in day trips and residentials, and learn new skills through training and workshops.
Carers Link, Young Carers Development Worker Carole Moulton said: “Jordan really needed the NCS programme at this particular time in his life due to his caring role and home situation, it really brought out his leadership skills and gave him a real confidence boost.”
After his positive experience with BFCitC so far, this is just the start for Jordan as he plans to keep in touch with the charity, taking part in the NCS extension phase activities, to discover how he can get involved in more opportunities to better his future and enrich the world around.
Now aged 18, Jordan plans to volunteer for Carers Link to support other children and young people in a similar situation to himself. He has also expressed an interest in working towards becoming a member of staff on the NCS programme in the future, using his experience to inspire others.
To find out more information about cooking programmes at Burnley Community Kitchen contact Assistant Manager Nathan Norris on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are aged 15-17 and would like to find out more about the NCS programme contact NCS Manager Callam Barnes on email@example.com.