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Pembrokeshire young carers to capture their lives on camera

ACTION FOR CHILDREN and the Royal Photographic Society launch photography project challenging young carers to get creative and show what’s important in their lives

Action for Children and the Royal Photographic Society, supported by Arts Council England this week (From May 23) launching a nationwide photography project to celebrate young carers across the UK.

The charities who share HRH The Duchess of Cambridge as Patron are asking young carers to get creative to photograph what’s important to them in their lives and learn a fantastic new skill along the way.

Selected entries will form a nationwide photography exhibition entitled ‘Young Carers – A Life in Focus’. This will follow a series of free online workshops and resources available to all young carers across the UK, created by leading photographers, on how to take unique images on their mobile phone, device or camera.

Caiden Meacham (10) from Haverfordwest is supported by Action for Children’s young carers service in Pembrokeshire. He said: ‘I want to learn how to take good photos and can’t wait to learn. I like taking photos of lots of different things like nature and my pets which mean a lot to me.’

Vikki Phillips, service coordinator for Pembrokeshire Young Carers, added: ‘The project has generated a lot of excitement amongst our young people like Caiden. It’s a generation that love to take photographs and document their lives so this is a perfect opportunity to do that while learning new skills from experts in the field. I’d love to see some of their work showcased in the exhibition.’

Celebrated photographer and visual artist Jo Bradford has produced the innovative and creative online workshops, which will cover technical topics such as composition through leading lines and interesting placements of subjects, lighting using objects you can find around your home to achieve professional results and editing using homemade filters and apps found on your phone.

Budding photographer: Caiden Meacham (10) from Haverfordwest (Image: AFC)

With an estimated 800,000 children and young people across the UK caring for a family member with a disability, illness or mental health issue – some as young as five years old – Action for Children and the Royal Photographic Society are encouraging young carers to capture their thoughts, emotions and life experiences.

Typically, young carers help with practical tasks around the home such as cooking, housework and shopping; physical care, such as helping someone out of bed; and personal care, such as helping someone dress.

To launch the project, photographer Jo Bradford shares her top three tips for young carers to get them experimenting with their photographic skills:

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1. Shine a torch on reflective, shiny objects around your home to make interesting light patterns in your photographs. A CD, vase or glass can create a glimmer or reflection
2. Use the objects in your home to create frames by placing them in the fore and background. Placing plants in the foreground could give a great jungle effect or a hole in some bubble wrap could make a fun frame for a face
3.Get experimental with your phone settings – using the panorama setting and shaking your phone up and down can produce abstract patterns around you

Action for Children supports over 3,700 children and young people who are young carers across the UK, giving them advice and respite through short breaks, activities and the chance to connect with other young carers.

Melanie Armstrong, Chief Executive at Action for Children, said: ‘We see first-hand the impact of loneliness and stress on young carers, who are dedicating a large part of their childhood to helping loved ones. These children and young people are often desperate for a break from their duties so it’s important for them to have some fun by doing a hobby or something they enjoy.

‘Our photography project will offer young carers the chance to do something for themselves while learning a new skill. We can’t wait to see the creative contributions later this year!’

Evan Dawson, Chief Executive of the Royal Photographic Society, adds: ‘There are thousands of inspirational young people in the UK performing regular caring duties for their loved ones, whilst also completing their education and somehow finding time to have a childhood.

‘Every situation is different – but these remarkable lives are rarely seen in the media or understood by their peers. We will provide new photography skills to these young people, and help celebrate their vital contribution to UK communities.’

If you are a young carer in the UK, we’re asking you to take photographs of what’s important to you in your everyday life and we’d love to see them. Selected entries will be part of a nationwide exhibition called Young Carers – A Life in Focus.

For more information: https://rps.org/opportunities/young-carers-a-life-in-focus/