Harwell Campus based charity, Be Free Young Carers (BFYC) has taken on XFactor for the Christmas number one slot by releasing its own version of ’Twelve Days of Christmas’. Children from the charity recorded ‘Twelve Days of Caring’ to highlight the gritty reality of being a young carer during the Christmas holidays, and to show solidarity with the 700,000 other young carers across the UK.
The young carers took it upon themselves to change the lyrics to the classic song to reflect what Christmas means to them and includes the following lyrics:
‘On the first day of Christmas, my caring brought to me, a family in need of me…
On the sixth day of Christmas my caring brought to me, no one understanding…
On the seventh day of Christmas, my caring brought to me, giving medication…
On the tenth day of Christmas, my caring brought to me, people picking on me…’
The album was initiated by BFYC support worker Carly Buckingham who said, “Music is extremely therapeutic when people are feeling stressed and anxious, we often hear from young carers that they use music as an escape when things become difficult to cope with at home.
“Not only was recording this album a wonderful, maybe once in a lifetime experience for these children, but it also gave the young carers a voice, something that seldom happens. It was really powerful to see their confidence grow due to the support they gave each other and the pride they felt in what they had achieved.”
There is an important message behind this song and a call to action for local and central government, and schools, to engage in the issue. BFYC Director John Tabor wants to stress, “Every day, well over half a million children go to work as carers before they even start their school day but because they are not recognised as such, the vast majority toil alone, lost in our communities, caring for others without proper emotional or financial support. This cannot be right – they care and we should too. But how can we if the definition of where reasonable family support stops and carer status starts is inconsistent across the country?
“We need unified identification adopted across the country plus central Government funding towards improving, and in many cases creating, services for these young people. We are starting with raising awareness – I hope this single, a heart-warming plea from the young carers themselves – represents not only a means to raise essential funds this Christmas, but a first step towards change.”
‘A Young Carers Christmas’ is available today from befreeyoungcarers.bandcamp.com.