St Martins Lodge and Milton Keynes Young Carers

St Martin's Lodge, 2812, from Bletchley, recently held their annual fun day for the Milton Keynes Young Carers, giving them a much needed day off from their busy life and duties. Held at the Herons Lodge Centre in Great Holm over 150 people attended and had an afternoon of live music, barbecue, drinks, animal petting zoo, bingo and bouncy castles.

Young carers are a group of children or young adults who due to circumstance have to look after their parents or siblings who have physical or mental disabilities stopping them living a normal life. In some cases children as young as eight are doing daily runs to the shops and missing out on fun childhood memories in order to keep the family going and often don't ask for too much help as they are worried they may be put into care themselves if they are seen as running the house hold.

Following a cut in their funding nine years ago, Milton Keynes Carers found they were unable to afford the annual fun day for the carers in their area. Inspired by Mike Blane, a local Freemason, members of various Lodges that meet at the Bletchley Masonic Centre, stepped in and have organised the fun day ever since. Indeed, St Martin's Lodge holds an annual summer ball, the proceeds from which are used to supplement the funding for the young carers.

Sally Mansi, Service Manager for Young Carers, Bucks and Milton Keynes said: "Once again I must say how much the ongoing funding, interest and the support from the St Martins Lodge of Freemasons is appreciated. I am confidently speaking from the perspective of young carers, their families and the staff team.

The support has made a huge difference to the daily lives of many young carers. It has enabled them to participate in a range of different and exciting activities over many years. Funding has been used for young carers to go on residential breaks and has allowed them to have respite from their caring responsibilities, as well as discover that being away from home can actually be an achievable option. This fundamental fact is crucial to life / crisis planning, options relating to education, careers and personal relationships and making decisions about their future.

The funding has enabled young carers to enjoy a range of activities including Cinema visits, Laser Tag, Bowling, Ice skating, Swimming, Gulliver's Land, Woburn Safari Park etc. This may sound so simple but it is surprising the number of young carers who have never had the chance to take part in these experiences. Thank you on behalf of all at Young Carers, Bucks and Milton Keynes."

Pictures show youngsters trying to catch bubbles