On Sunday 12 August, the United Nations’ International Youth Day will be highlighted in many different ways across the world, and this year’s theme is ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’. Leading workwear service provider Johnsons Apparelmaster in Gateshead is celebrating its support for one group of vulnerable young people, by opening up ‘safe spaces’ at the local plant for the Young Carers Service, part of the Carers Trust Tyne and Wear.
‘Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision-making processes and freely express themselves,’ states the United Nations. Derek Overton, General Manager of Johnsons Apparelmaster Gateshead couldn’t agree more: “We have been supporting the charity’s valuable work with around 600 young carers in the region for some four years now. This group of under 18’s all help to care for someone who has a long-term illness or disability and the Young Carers support workers offer them information, advice, practical support and vital respite. But they need somewhere that they can meet and get involved in activities.
“We recognise how important this service is, providing a lifeline to many young people, and have been delighted to help provide these ‘safe spaces’ in our facilities, as well as food and refreshments. Our training room supports practical exercises to enable young people to carry out their responsibilities while still enjoying their childhood. Our staff also help to raise vital funds for the service with donations raised through regular raffles.” Derek has volunteered for over 30 years with Radio Lollipop for children in the hospital, where he met and was inspired by a fellow volunteer who works with Gateshead Young Carers.
Anthony Lea, Business Development Manager for Carers Trust Tyne & Wear, says: “Help from local business partners is essential for us to continue to provide support to our young carers. We have worked with Johnsons Apparelmaster for several years now and they have helped in a variety of ways, from arranging raffles to putting us forward for funding. Even access to a room can make a huge difference.”