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Tommy and Josie Dingley – Young Carer’s story

For many young people, school holidays permit much needed relaxation following the stress of exams or the academic term, but for young carers this time is often filled with the responsibility of supporting loved ones in need. Whilst recent research has highlighted that three quarters of young carers feel lonely during the summer holidays*, independence can also be highly affected.

Thomas, 16, from Scarborough in North Yorkshire, has been playing the vital role of his mother’s carer for several years now whilst his father works full time. Diagnosed with cancer in 2013, Josie was finally given the all clear this summer, but has since been left with Lymphedema which sees both of her legs remain incredibly swollen – often too painful to move.

Josie said: “Tommy does so much for me; every single day he takes care of things for me because as soon as I start moving the pain is just unbearable.”

In addition to helping his mother, Thomas has his own condition to manage having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease the same year his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Affecting his bowels, Thomas’ symptoms can worsen when he is stressed and in unfamiliar environments. This sees Thomas and Josie relying heavily on each other, strengthening their already extremely close relationship.

“Tommy finds it so hard to trust people and just prefers to be at home with me. I normally have to explain things to people because Tommy would rather shy away from challenging situations.” says Josie. “I would say I’m his security blanket and he’s definitely become mine.”

Breaking his usual routine, this summer Thomas decided to participate in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, during which he spent two weeks living away from home building confidence, learning ‘life skills’ and meeting a bunch of new friends.

This was also something completely new for his mum, who was at first very apprehensive of him taking part. “It was awful, him not being around the house, I hated every single minute of it. The stress was absolutely beyond belief to be honest, because I was so worried about Thomas being in a new environment, whilst at the same time he was worrying about me being at home without him. But this all changed when I received a call from Tommy a few nights into the week. He told me how much fun he was having, meeting friends and trying new things. He just sounded so happy and hearing how great his NCS experience was was amazing for me.”

With support from the NCS programme leaders and mentors, Thomas gained a new sense of independence. He said: “Don’t get me wrong, I really missed my mum, but it was the best thing I’ve ever done, it really has changed my life. I’ve made tonnes of new friends and loved the whole NCS experience!

“I think I really found myself. I realised that I’m an upbeat person and that I can be social and help others make friends and mix with different people, whereas before I didn’t think to do that.”

It wasn’t only Thomas who benefitted from the government-backed programme. Josie said: “Thomas’ time on NCS had a positive impact on both of us. Tommy doesn’t worry as much about me because he knows I’ll be okay if he wants to go out, and it made me realise that I can be more independent and do things for myself if I need to.”

This has seen a new type of relationship blossom for Thomas and Josie. Whilst Thomas has gained a new sense of freedom, Josie has become a lot more self-reliant, encouraging Thomas to broaden his horizons in the future.

Josie continues: “I couldn’t recommend NCS more to teens and parents of teens. It is absolutely amazing. It helped us see that the world is much more than what’s going on at home; that there is a life out there and the world is Tommy’s oyster!

“The experience has made me realise that Tommy’s not a young kid, he’s a young adult.”

About NCS

NCS is a government backed programme established in 2011 to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens.

NCS is open to 16 and 17 year-olds across England and Northern Ireland. The two to four week programme, which takes place in school holidays, includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event.

To date:

  • Almost 500,000 young people have taken part
  • Ten million hours of community action have been completed
  • For every £1 spent, NCS’  2016 summer programme delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 of benefits back to society
  • It costs participants just £50 or less to take part in NCS and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is provided for young people with additional needs.

To find out more visit


*Three quarters of young carers feel lonely during summer holidays. Available at:

Mathematics for Early Years

CPD opportunity!

Mathematics for Early Years Practitioners; a 4 day workgroup
This course addresses teaching for mastery in the Early years aiming to ensure that firm mathematical foundations are developed and embedded ready for learning in year 1 and beyond.

Cost: Free!

Course start date: 10th October

Location: York

Further information can be found in this flyer or the application form or please contact Matt Davies, assistant maths hub lead:

Essential Life Skills – Round 2 Awards

More funding has been allocated to projects from the Essential Life Skills Fund to support young people across Scarborough, Whitby and Filey to take part in regular extra-curricular activities.

Animated Objects will be running a series of project based arts skills sessions for young people building artistic and personal skills. Sessions will include: large scale art, Construction skills, Lantern Making, Animation, Textiles, Sculpture, and Digital Art Skills.

Futureworks will provide a number of practical and physical activities to help young people develop their confidence and other vital life skills.

Gallows Close Centre will provide a range of activities for children and young people exposing them to new skills and experiences in an environment they feel comfortable with. Activities will includes: mixed martial arts, gymnastics and street dance.

Gladstone Road Primary School will help pupils to connect with their natural environment through after-school, lunch time and full day sessions

Invisible Dust will work with North Yorkshire Libraries to create a new extra-curricular digital project. This project will support young people to become more confident by developing creative, digital and communication skills.

Kingdom Faith’s Youth Angels will provide more support for young people to overcome low self-esteem, bullying and low self-confidence.

Krash Labs will provide a weekly after-school session across the area. Sessions will focus on how computer gaming can help young people to explore more creative digital skills such as programming, digital art, digital music and animation.

NYBEP will support groups of young people to discover hidden talents, connect with the outdoors and understand the world of work. This will take place through workshops, masterclasses, skills sessions and employer led challenges.

‘Team Street Stars’ young people will access enriching new outdoor physical activities which help to promote learning, emotional and social advancements in an alternative setting which they may not be able to access independently. This may include: theatre, the arts, museums and cultural trips.

Sidewalk Youth Project will deliver mentoring opportunities, as well as support young people to take part in social action as part of ongoing community development.

Scarborough and Ryedale Young Carers Resource will provide support to a group of young carers to overcome the barriers to participating in extra-curricular activities.

The Wave Project will deliver a programme of surf therapy supported by local volunteer surf mentors. They will also run weekly surf club sessions to provide regular extra-curricular activities.

Secretary of State in Town

Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, visited Coventry University Scarborough yesterday, where he met with members of the our Partnership Board over a lunch to discuss progress with the programme so far. Board members discussed early developments with projects in priority areas including early years development, maths and literacy. Board members were also open about the continued challenges with effective implementation in an ambitious, but time-limited, programme.

The Secretary of State went on to meet a group of young people who will be supported by our Essential Life Skills fund, and listened to their experiences of school, their ambitions for the future and their concerns as young people growing up in the area.

Chair of the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area Partnership Board, Sir Martin Narey, said:

“I’m delighted the Secretary of State is visiting the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area to see the efforts we are making to improve social mobility along the coast.

“I know that improving social mobility has long been a priority for this Education Secretary, and I want him to see the encouraging progress we are making. Too many children along the coast do not fulfil their potential. The Opportunity Board, all volunteers and which I chair, is determined to address that.”


We are partnering with the Two Ridings Community Foundation to match fund #iwill for applicants from Scarborough, Whitby and Filey.

The #iwill fund seeks to increase volunteering in young people by 50% by 2020, this could be through encouraging young people to fundraise, volunteer or campaign for your worthy cause.

The fund has supported a variety of organisations that involve youth at the heart of the project. One example is Selby District Youth Wellbeing Fund; young people at Selby College recognised the gaps in mental health provision and requested funding to help them campaign for more resources and to educate young people on where to go for support. Another example is Scarborough and Ryedale Carers Resource Centre, they applied for funding to enable them to convene a youth council that would collate the thoughts of young carers and raise awareness of both the good and the problems they may face.

Organisations do not have to be a youth organisation but the project should be youth led and have a focus on young people.

The Two Ridings Community Foundation are holding events in Scarborough and Whitby on Thursday 6th September 2018 for applicants and potential applicants of the #iwill scheme. This will be to discuss potential projects and offer support through the application process. Please email to register your interest in this event.

Scarborough – CU Scarborough, Ashburn Rd, Scarborough YO11 2JW. Arrive from 2:00pm for a 2:30pm start. The event will finish by 4:00pm.

Whitby – Little Beck Village Hall, Littlebeck Bank, Whitby YO22 5HA.  Arrive at 5:00pm  for a 5:30pm start. The event will finish by 7:00pm.