Imagine suddenly becoming a carer at age 15. This is what happened to Josh when he moved to Gateshead to live with a visually impaired grandparent.   

At the time, Josh’s younger brother was his only other local social connection. He found socialising with other young people difficult, especially in groups. He had ambitions to study catering but no longer had access to his bank account. He needed this to receive a bursary so that he could afford to travel to college each day.

Josh met with a worker from the Young Carer Service and they discussed the challenges that he was experiencing. Together they created a plan that focussed on his immediate concerns. This included setting up a new bank account and supporting Josh to attend group activities with carers of a similar age.

Josh settled into the new group better than he expected, finding the staff and other young carers easy to get along with. He soon took the opportunity to join an employability programme that we ran with local partner, Youth Focus North East. As part of the course, Josh was found work experience at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Newcastle. He settled into the placement so well that he extended it from one week to 10, developing his skills in both the kitchen and front-of-house.

Josh began his college studies with an NVQ Level 1 in both Kitchen and Front-of-house, eventually progressing to a Level 3 in Patisserie and Confectionary. As his training progressed, Josh needed to purchase his own equipment. With Josh’s income, this was going to be difficult. Thanks to a legacy created by local supporter, Pat Rogers, we were able to purchase equipment on Josh’s behalf, including his chef uniform and a set of professional kitchen knives

Josh now works in a restaurant, where he makes cakes and pastries and works front-of-house in the restaurant’s coffee shop. He has ambitions to continue his training and become a fully qualified chef.

 “Carers Trust Tyne and Wear helped me to develop a whole load of skills by supporting me with equipment for college. You’ve helped me make a whole load of friends too. When I was 15, I didn’t see any future. Now I can see that I can grasp what’s in front me.”