A group that has supported vulnerable children for the past 10 years has been overwhelmed by the strength of public support, after its funding was slashed.
And now two women are aiming to secure its future by setting up an official fundraising arm.
Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers (YC2) provides a club night for 35 young carers aged seven to 18 in north Bucks – children who take on caring responsibilites beyond their years.
Upwards of 100 young carers have passed through its doors since the club was founded 10 years ago by Buckingham woman Margo Parfitt, who still runs YC2.
All the youngsters have a caring role and/or are affected emotionally by having a family member with a disability, mental health or addiction problem or a long-term illness.
YC2 provides them with a club night once a month at Buckingham Youth Club, where they can relax in the company of other young carers and adult volunteers who understand the pressures they are under.
It also runs a separate seniors night for young people aged 13 to 18, plus regular outings and activities.
Run entirely by volunteers, the group has in the past been supported by annual funding of £7,500 from Bucks County Council (BCC).
But just before Christmas, BCC announced it was withdrawing its future funding.
Following publicity in this paper and pressure from supporters, BCC gave the club a one-off donation of £5,000 for this financial year.
But Mrs Parfitt has been told there will be no more money from the county for future years.
And this is at a time when she says the need has never been greater.
Mrs Parfitt said: “The number of young carers in the area is increasing and their needs are more complex.
“YC2 is very much a neighbourhood support group which builds up a strong and trusting relationship with the families. “Before YC2, these children were not on anyone’s radar.
“Our only aim has always been to give young carers the same opportunities that other children enjoy as they grow up.”
Since the Advertiser highlighted the club’s funding cut, groups, individuals and businesses have flocked to the rescue with generous donations.
Now two supporters are setting up a separate fundraising group to support the charity.
Best friends Ginny Box, of Buckingham, and Jan Rush, of Finmere, will launch the Friends of YC2 at the club’s 10 anniversary celebrations on Saturday.
Mrs Parfitt said: “We need a fundraising arm and we haven’t got the capacity for a paid fundraiser. If we’ve got an independent fundraising arm, it frees us to keep running the club.
“I’m hoping in a way it will be a long-term funding plan
And she added: “What we’ve got in spades is the loyalty factor.”
YC2 will mark its 10th birthday with a big celebration from 2pm to 5pm at Buckingham Parish Church, with magic, sumo wrestling, a bouncy castle and cake.
All young carers, former young carers, families and supporters are welcome to attend, along with anyone who wants to find out more about how to support the Friends of YC2.
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