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First aid and free time for young carers

13 March 2009

First aid trainersBRC The British Red Cross has launched an innovative new project to teach vital life-saving skills to young carers living across Ross-shire.

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers estimates there are 5,000 young people living in the Highlands who care for a family member with a disability, chronic illness, mental ill health or drug and alcohol addiction.

This three-year pilot project is funded by the Highland firm LifeScan Scotland and will see the Red Cross run first aid and respite projects in partnership with the Highland Carers Project.

Life-saving skills

Anne Eadie, Red Cross service manager, said: "Young carers are much more likely to find themselves in situations where knowing basic life-saving skills could make a real difference – both to themselves and the people they care for."

As well as teaching first aid skills, the Red Cross will provide the young people with a valuable opportunity to meet other people their own age and a chance to speak to adults who understand their situation.

The Red Cross will base the project in Ross-shire on a similar, successful, scheme in Skye and Lochalsh. The first Red Cross first aid project in Ross-shire has already started in Alness, with more due to be set up this year throughout the region.

Young carers

Skye young carers Robert MacLean and cousin Ben Oakes attended the Alness meeting to speak to young people about their experience with the Red Cross. Robert said: "I've been with the Red Cross for four years now. I definitely get a lot out of it and they’re great people to work with. Learning first aid is an extra skill and it's made me more confident, but it’s also good to get a break for a while."

"This is a very worthwhile initiative for LifeScan Scotland to get behind," said Susan Szymborski, LifeScan's communications adviser. "Many of our employees come from Ross-shire and the Red Cross has done a great job supporting young carers in other regions."

The Red Cross are now keen to hear from young carers and young carers groups in Ross-shire interested in taking part in the project. Anne said: "This is a three-year project and we want to work with as many young carers in Ross-shire as we can, whatever age. As has been proven in Skye and Lochalsh, a project like this can make a real difference to young people's quality of life."

For more information contact Anne Eadie on 01599 530 150 or email aeadie@redcross.org.uk

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