TWENTY-EIGHT young carers in the Bradford district took part in their own version of The Great British Bake Off on Friday.

Their cakes were judged by Irfan Alam, Deputy Director, Children's Services, and Cath Dew, Service Manager for Prevention and Early Help at Bradford Council.

The winning cakes included a Mermaid cake by the under 11's category winner, and a set of 'Out Of This World' cupcakes claimed the over 11's winning place. Both were beautifully decorated and baked to perfection to win the competition, earning the pair Star Baker awards.

A young carer is anyone under the age of 18 who looks after a parent or sibling who has a physical or mental illness, a disability or misuses drugs or alcohol.

Tribute is paid to district's young carers

Young carer workers from local charity Carers’ Resource delivered the young people packs of ingredients during Carers Week (8 – 14 June) ahead of the challenge. The packs contained a recipe and all the ingredients needed for young people to create their own masterpieces.

The young people’s service is a jointly commissioned service by Bradford Council and the CCG's to support young carers across the Bradford district.

Being a young carer can carry a huge amount of responsibility within a family, yet their caring role can often remain hidden to professionals and services that work with the family.

The Bake Off challenge is one of a number of activities Carers’ Resource held last week to mark Carers Week, a week-long celebration of the important job carers do every day. The annual event also helps to raise awareness of caring, highlights the challenges carers face, and recognises the contribution they make to families and communities.

This year, in particular, additional stresses and worries for carers during the Coronavirus outbreak has meant loss of support networks or the outlet of going to school or groups, which can provide a break for young carers from their responsibilities at home.

Irfan Alam, Deputy Director, Children's Services at Bradford Council, said: “The Bake Off challenge is a really inspiring and fun way to bring some light relief to children who are providing an often difficult and challenging caring role within their family or community.

"I have really enjoyed judging the competition, all the cakes looked delicious, sadly we could only choose two winners.

“We value all our young carers across the district, and our commitment to supporting young carers remains strong, every day of the year, and in particular during these current challenging times.

“The dedicated service we jointly commission for young carers provided by Carers’ Resource, along with our partnerships with health partners, adult services and schools, are a vital way for us to reach out, identify and support young carers in the Bradford district.”

Cllr Adrian Farley, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Children and Families, said: “Every one of us has a role to play in identifying and supporting young carers in our district.

“I urge any young carers or families aware of a young carer to get in touch with Carers’ Resource so they can gain further support and guidance.”

Chief Executive Officer at Carers’ Resource, Chris Whiley, said: “The Coronavirus crisis has left some of our young carers juggling school work at home with 24/7 caring responsibilities, with no outlet or break. Young carers are some of the least likely young people to have done school work during lockdown due to a number of barriers, such as their other responsibilities and a lack of technology. It is incredibly hard for them.

“We already hold regular virtual support groups and have Facebook and Instagram pages dedicated to young carers but we wanted to provide something fun and special for them to do during Carers Week, to recognise them and their contributions. We came up with the idea of a Bake Off challenge, which has been a wonderful success.

“It has given many of our young people some time out, allowing them to take part in something fun and creative. Sometimes a young carer knowing someone is there to support them, share their experiences and connecting them with peers is all they need to feel less lonely and isolated.”