Sarah Needham: A Young Carer
Sarah was born into a large family as 1 of 5 children on March 25th 1987 and became a young carer for her mum at the age of 11 years. Since Sarah was one years old her mum has been very ill with a meningioma brain tumor.
Sarah’s unconditional & outstanding care and support for her mum was recognised by Burnley, Pendle and Rossendales Young Carers Project that aims to offer one to one support, group work and activities, help, information and respite opportunities to Young Carers like Sarah.
Throughout Sarah’s teenage years, her mum suffered an intracranial brain abscess and two transischenic attacks and so at the age of 16 years and following on from the support she received from Burnley, Pendle and Rossendales Young Carers Project she decided to become a volunteer and work towards the Millennium Volunteers 200 Hour Award of Excellence with the University of Central Lancashire. As well as volunteering with the Young Carer’s Project, Sarah’s passion and enthusiasm for empowering young people for positive change through peer led volunteering and community action never ceased. She began volunteering with her local church and developing innovative engagement projects with young people through the Rainbows Partnership. Sarah has also played an instrumental role with the Breaking Barriers in Burnley, multi-agency youth provision, which aims to involve young people from different areas, backgrounds and cultures together in order to develop positive relationships between the various communities of Burnley.
Sarah’s passion has always been to work with children and young people and has committed a vast amount of hours volunteering in several community projects. Most recently, Sarah was awarded the Community Hero Award 2009 by the University of Central Lancashire, Institute for Global youth Leaders and Community Action in celebration of the 10 years of amazing volunteering and community action. Sarah as been an outstanding volunteer to work with whom never ceases to inspire and drive us forward in our work.
Sarah’s recently teamed up with the Princes Trust and Young People's Service to offer a colourful explosion of music, dance, drama, culture and art at the Burnley's Queen's Park in celebration of the sixth annual Burnley Community Festival. It was attended by people of all ages, including the Mayor Councillor Ida Carmichael who came together for the family event.
Sarah worked together with several community organisations to create and decorate the main stage for the festival and gained valuable experience in planning and facilitating art, fashion and music workshops with the aim to develop innovative working partnership, community cohesion and drawing on young people from all communities in Burnley.
Sarah’s outstanding voluntary contributions are truly amazing and the difficulties she has faced over the years do not faze her at all. She has dealt with losing her home due to a fire, her mum’s illnesses, her father’s alcoholism as well as suffering from bi-polar depression herself. She believes that volunteering is her key to gaining skills, knowledge and confidence and hopes to continue giving young people the help and support she received and to show others that you can make it through life and be a better person by giving up time to make a difference in the community.