Young Carers at Derby County

DCFC Vs Millwall FC - & Meeting Wayne Rooney

On Saturday the 14th of Dec three of our young carers we’re invited over to Pride Park Stadium because the man himself, Mr Wayne Rooney wanted to celebrate our partnership with the club and meet some of the people we work with.

Three charities were invited to take part in this special event; these are the clubs charities they will be supporting for the next two years.

We met at midday and started by having a look at the clubs home changing rooms, which were impressive, with baths and all the kit laid out waiting for the team before they kicked off, it felt for a moment maybe we were the team getting ready to play! A professional photographer was with us and took our photos throughout the day. We went through the tunnel to the dug outs where we took more photographs together. After this, we went up to the Cinos Box; where the club had prepared gift bags, games, food and drinks to entertain the young people. The adults were taken through to the Pedigree bar where we had time away from the young people while the clubs hosts entertained and took this day the extra mile.

We all watched the game together in the box, as our hosts continued to support parents and young people alike, despite the 1-0 loss, the feeling was great and the atmosphere: electric. Now the game was over, we had been told to wait for a special guest that would be coming. The young people, some of who were under ten were clearly now lacking patience, their faces said come on mum, let’s go! But they didn’t thankfully, and all of a sudden: Wayne walks in and says: ‘Hello’. It felt totally surreal…

Silver haired, dressed in a manager’s level sportswear, and much more approachable than I had imagined; predicting a kind of tin man being wheeled in to do something they didn’t want to do. No, no, no, here he was, the man himself looking back at us: like a duck to water he behaved as any great professional public figure would do. Making his way around the room, signing pictures, and taking selfies with people. I think we we’re all very star struck, but also very grateful.

Big thank you to DCFC and especially to all the staff who worked hard to ensure we were properly looked after. We really appreciate the opportunity to come and be involved on a match day and receive such special treatment. I know this had a positive impact on us all, and putting a champion cherry on our cake really took a great day and made it even better. The same big thank you to Wayne for creating this opportunity and coming to see us.

Finally, specifically in regard to caring: it is increasingly hard for carer’s in today’s political climate as services are further stretched or cut. Maintaining a life and responsibilities while caring for someone with a serious health condition can leave people isolated, and feeling frustrated. Financially it is costly since work will be affected, and more than likely carers are in the lower tiers of household income. This means days out maybe sacrificed or few and far between. By inviting our carers to events like this it inspires, letting people know they are seen and heard which can create chance for some of the most constricted people, to breathe; because days like this are about having fun and getting respite. Things like Saturday make a real difference to people’s lives.

Best wishes

Cullen & the DCA Young Carers Team

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