Keen to make sure the young carers, who are between the ages of seven and 18, have something special to open on Christmas morning, staff at Fuel Card Services put their Santa hats on and bought the gifts, Christmas Eve boxes and chocolate bouquets made by Tracey’s Treats and Flowers4Ever at cost.
Team leader Donna Grimshaw said: "We believe that every youngster is entitled to a childhood and we wanted to focus on an organisation that may not receive as much publicity as others
"Hearing about the young carers and the responsibilities they face was just so moving and we knew right away we wanted to do something special for them."
Based within the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Community Voluntary Service, the team help the young carers of East Lancashire manage with the emotional strain of caring for vulnerable adults. They also provide young carers with regular breaks from their caring responsibilities and specialise in delivering long-term support to young carers up to the age of 18.
BPRCVS has been running this project since 2000 and work alongside a number of partners and agencies including schools, social services teams, Lancashire’s Young People’s Service, Carers UK, Inspire (drug and alcohol services) and mental health teams plus many more. The Young Carers project is funded by sponsors and supporters.
Sarah Al-Warfali, who is a family and development worker for the organisation, said the gifts meant 'the absolute world' to them.
"The young people who will receive these gifts don't have ordinary childhoods. They have a lot of responsibilities resting on them and may be looking after an adult in their household facing a number of problems, from mental health issues to substance abuse," said Sarah.
Helping others is not just something the staff do at Christmas either, according to Fuel Card Services MD Denise Frost who said: "They do this annually and also throughout the year.
"They have been out and bought tents and food for homeless people. They are the kindest and most generous bunch of people I have ever met."
Indeed in January the colleagues will be their doing their bit at a 24 hour church-a-thon fundraiser at St Matthew's Church in Burnley to help the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.