“Geraldine has made a big difference to M and in turn that has impacted on both my and C’s life”.

Geraldine is well known in Merthyr Tydfil. Having worked with young people for many years, she is well connected in her community, working passionately to make life better for children and young people in the area.

Through her role as a Project Co-Coordinator for Barnardo’s Cymru, Geraldine has been involved with the Hyder Project, established to support young carers living in Merthyr Tydfil.

Funded through the Integrated Care Fund, The Hyder Project was created following feedback from young carers who expressed the negative impact caring was having on their self-esteem, education, confidence and social skills.

Hyder aimed to provide young carers with individual support, while connecting them to educational and creative activities such as choirs, a book club and writing workshops, that could improve their skills and confidence.

For twelve months from January 2020, the Hyder Project supported 113 young carers and their families in Merthyr Tydfil.

To tackle loneliness and isolation, Geraldine and her colleagues  spoke to families and young carers weekly, through doorstep chats, remote catch ups or even ‘walk and talk ‘sessions. 

During the difficult months of lockdown and the pandemic, Geraldine and the Hyder Project team also supported families with food bank deliveries, in addition to taking activity, cooking and recipe packs to homes. 

In some cases, the team also purchased laptops and other devices to help children and young people with their school work. 

The young carers were also encouraged to take part in a range of online activities such as choirs and music and lyric writing workshops. 

They were also encouraged to share their experiences at events run by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, and helped with the production of educational resources and a consultation event around young carer ID cards.

The Hyder Project had a positive impact on the young carers’ lives, with 89% reporting maintained or improved mental health and wellbeing. 92% said they’d maintained or improved their resilience. 

Feedback from a parent:

“Thank you all for your hard work and commitment to the kids, you are truly the unseen heroes.

The work you do is vital in giving these young teens the tools to make change in their lives or helping them find the strength in coping with whatever is difficult in their lives.”