[Credit Clive Dellard .Group photo – MPs with Ed Davey and Wera Hobhouse with members of the Bath Phil team and local Young Carers including Bath Phil Music Director Jason Thornton (far right).]
Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey and Lib Dem MP for Bath, Wera Hobhouse, are calling for funding of Bath Philharmonia’s Young Carers’ Creative Orchestras to be extended.
Ed Davey, who was a young carer for his mum as a teenager, and Wera Hobhouse spent an afternoon with the orchestra as part of Ed Davey’s local election tour across the country.
During the visit, they met and made music with young carers before sitting down at the Bath Forum with the Bath Philharmonia and Bath Carers’ Centre staff to discuss what more they want to see done for carers on a national scale.
Bath Philharmonia is the only orchestra in the UK that provides music-making opportunities for young carers. Since starting the programme in 2009, over 1,000 children from across the entire South West have taken part and benefitted from their work.
The charity’s current grant from Youth Music will come to an end this summer and currently, with no funding in place for this work beyond 31st August, Bath Philharmonia is constantly raising money to keep their Young Carers programme going. After seeing firsthand the positive impact the organisation has on children, Ed Davey and Wera Hobhouse are calling for further funding and Government support.
It comes as the Liberal Democrats announce their plans for a ‘Young Carers Pupil Premium’ as part of a new ‘Education Guarantee’ for all 800,000 young carers in England.
Under the party’s legally enforceable ‘Education Guarantee,’ each school would have a designated ‘Young Carers Champion’ to act as a contact point for pupils and their families, provide pastoral support to young carers and oversee the delivery of support plans.
Schools would also need to offer extra tuition to young carers where needed, at a time that does not conflict with their role as a carer.
Former young carer and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey MP said:
“As a teenager I learned firsthand how looking after someone you love is exceptionally rewarding, but it can also be relentless, exhausting and isolating, even without the added pressure of keeping up with school.
“Making music with young carers and Bath Philharmonia staff was an incredible experience. We need more projects like this targeted at helping young carers, but the Conservative Government is still not doing enough to support these children in school or outside of it.
“Liberal Democrats in Bath and across the country are working to make sure that no young carer is left isolated or with their quality of life and education put at risk due to their caring responsibilities.
“Bath Philharmonia’s Young Carers’ Creative Orchestras must be urgently given further funding to continue their fantastic work.”
Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, commented:
“It was wonderful to show Ed Davey the incredible work Bath Philharmonia does for young carers when he came to Bath during his local election tour.
“There is nowhere near enough support for young carers nationally and that is why organisations like Bath Phil are crucial.
“After seeing how beneficial music is for young people with additional responsibilities, I’ve made repeated calls for young carers to be referenced in the National Plan for Music Education, but this Conservative government has not listened.
“Learning to play an instrument and making music together has been transformative for these young people. We desperately need more funding to ensure the vital work of Bath Phil can continue.”
Jason Thornton, Music Director of Bath Philharmonia, commented:
“We were delighted that Ed Davey and Wera Hobhouse joined in with the Young Carers to co-create music together and were able to witness the overwhelming benefit to Young Carers from taking part. I’m delighted that Ed Davey is championing Young Carer issues on a national platform and that Wera Hobhouse is championing recognition for Young Carers in the National Plan for Music Education. We want to give every Young Carer the chance to be musical and access local music-making activities that respond to their additional responsibilities and needs.”