Café #1 roundup

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Prof. Saul Becker at Café Culturel

Last week saw the first ever Café Culturel and we are pleased to announce that it was a huge success! Prof. Saul Becker gave a fascinating and engaging talk on the hidden world of young carers and the discussion that followed was similarly stimulating.

We thought we’d give you some of the highlights of the evening in case you couldn’t make it along on the night – feel free to comment below and leave your thoughts on any of the following points:

  • 200,000 children under the age of 18 provide up to 50 hours of care per week. A shocking statistic that set informed the rest of the discussion: what do these children do and why do they have to do it
  • Most young carers are invisible – because of the social stigma surrounding care giving, particularly as a child, we simply don’t know that they are there. The 200,000 figure comes from census data but the authorities believe there to be many more beneath the surface, including many who don’t even realise that they are “young carers”.
  • If a child cares for their parent, should this be seen as child neglect – even abuse – on the parent’s part?
  • What happens to young carers in later life? Certainly, at the time of caring, they are more disposed to mental health problems but more research needs to be done to see if this develops as they grow older. The problem of university also came up – how should we best deal with the thousands of students who need to care for their relatives whilst studying?
  • Might there be some positive aspects to being a child carer? It may not have been right for them to have to provide care in a society such as ours but it can shape their personalities for the better, making them into what they are today. Saul himself speculated that had he not been a young carer, he might not have gone on to carry out so much research in the field.

We hope this gives you a flavour of the discussion and debate that went on last week. If you want to get involved in the future, details of next months Café will be posted soon – it would be great to see even more people there!

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Café #1: “Hidden Faces of Childhood”

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Professor Saul Becker

We are very excited to announce details of the first Café Culturel! It will be led by Professor Saul Becker (University of Birmingham) and is entitled, “Hidden Faces of Childhood: Children as Caregivers”. In Birmingham, the UK and the world, a large proportion of children take on major caring roles and responsibilities for other family members. These ‘young carers’ are often hidden – invisible in the societies, communities and places that they live, learn and work.

A wealth of previous research highlights that many young carers take on excessive or inappropriate caring responsibilities, which hamper their ability to learn, develop and thrive. As such, young carers often face significant disadvantages, which not only affect their childhood and education in the here and now, but also cast a shadow forward and affect their futures and prospects in later life. The discussion will lift the lid the realities of being a young carer, addressing who these children are and why they have to provide care. This research has also revealed that, as a testament to the resilience and capacity of adaptation of individuals, these young individuals are not simply ‘victims’ of society, but individuals that develop a set of important qualities and approaches to life. Certainly, the public will have the opportunity and be encouraged to probe deeper into whether we should do more than merely acknowledge their presence.

The Café will run from 7-9pm on Monday 16th February and will take place upstairs at Cherry Reds, John Bright St, Birmingham. It is completely FREE and open to all although seats are limited so best arrive early!

It promises to be a wonderful and thought-provoking evening and we look forward to seeing you there!