Duchess of Cornwall meets with Barnardo’s Redbridge young carers to hear how they’re coping through the pandemic

Barnardo's young carers Marisa Olusemo (left), Rameen Mailk (right), Barnardo's Senior Support Worke

Barnardo's young carers Marisa Olusemo (left), Rameen Mailk (right), Barnardo's Senior Support Worker Liz Horton (centre) with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. Picture: Clarence House - Credit: Archant

Barnardo’s royal patron, the Duchess of Cornwall, met with two Redbridge young carers and heard how the children’s charity is helping to strengthen young lives affected by Covid-19.

In a special visit to Clarence House on Wednesday, October 14 Marisa Olusemo, 17, and Rameen Malik, 12 – who both are supported by Barnardo’s Young Carers’ Service – discussed with the Duchess how the pandemic has affected children and young people with caring responsibilities.

Both Marisa and Rameen regularly use Barnardo’s Wellbeing Hub in Ilford, which provides a range of services for children and young people with disabilities and those with caring responsibilities across Redbridge.

The service is run in partnership with Redbridge Council and has continued to operate throughout the pandemic. It provides a vital safe space where children and young people are able to enjoy fun activities, socialise and benefit from support.

Marisa, who was a Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen nominee last year, is a carer to her mother, Jacqueline, who has diabetes and uses a wheelchair.

Marisa said: “It was great to meet the Duchess. I really enjoyed telling her about all the things I have been able to do with Barnardo’s in the past year.”

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She said her home environment isn’t the best place to study and the pandemic has made things harder.

“Coming to the hub also allows me to meet other young carers who have been going through the same thing as me.

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“It makes me feel that I’m not alone.”

Her visit with the Duchess was not her first brush with celebrity.

In February pop star Billie Eilish surprised Marisa at the Capital FM studios when she was doing an interview about being a young carer.

Senior support worker Liz Horton said: “The past few months have been incredibly difficult for so many of our children and young people, but the staff and volunteers in our services have worked tirelessly to ensure they continue to get the support they need.”

Last year Barnardo’s supported 3,330 young carers throughout the UK and research from the charity shows young carers undertake in excess of 30 hours of caring a week for parents and siblings.

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