Young Carers Football Crazy A simple intervention by CSM’s youth team has enabled one soccer-loving young carer to follow his passion. He in turn, has inspired the Merton footballing community to lend him their support. ‘Jack’ is a football-loving young carer, but despite his passion for the game his family don’t have the capacity and resources to help him to make his mark on the pitch. In 2019, CSM secured a spot for Jack on AFC Wimbledon’s summer programme. It has proved to be a transformative intervention. His talent and commitment didn’t go unnoticed at AFC Wimbledon and as a result, we were able to enlist the support of the club to secure Jack a place on his local Sunday League youth team along with the cost of fees and boots so he could attend regular training sessions and matches throughout the season. “Jack was on fire at training this week.” Youth league manager, September 2020 Jack hasn’t disappointed. This summer, when his youth team manager contacted CSM to ask about funding to help Jack get some new boots and pay the fees for the upcoming season, we went back to AFC Wimbledon who have agreed to go on sponsoring Jack (and three other young people) this year to the value of £250, including a week of training camp and new boots. Meanwhile, over at Jack’s club, a teammate’s parent had noticed his boots were falling apart and bought him a new pair. Another parent has now offered to support him with new kit and boots when he needs them. Jack has huge potential as a football player, but until CSM intervened he had never had the opportunity to play for a team. As a vulnerable youngster who could so easily make different choices, it has been an incredibly positive experience for Jack to feel part of a community where people look out for him and where he feels valued for himself and for his skills and talent. CSM is also working with Jack’s mum to help her to support Jack to achieve his ambitions. Caring for someone can be isolating, worrying and stressful and can take its toll on young carers’ life chances. Research has shown that harmful levels of caring can have a negative impact on relationships and on educational, mental and physical health outcomes. Carers Support Merton is looking for mentors to inspire young carers like Jack to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. If you would like to make a difference in a young person's life, we’d love to hear from you.