Pembrokeshire Sibling Group
When we heard about Pembrokeshire Sibling Group, we were keen to share the great work this small charity does for the brothers and sisters of chronically ill young people.
Although, at time of posting this, the charity has had to cancel plans for the foreseeable future because of Covid-19 and most of us being in isolation, we saw no reason to forget the good work it has done and will hopefully do again when we emerge back into the world.
Lee Hinds told us: “PSG has been around for around 20 years. The charity was started by a small group of parents and professionals who recognised that there was little or no support for the siblings of disabled or chronically ill young people. The group developed a series of one-off activities and the group has grown from there. We still have one of the founding members on our board today!”
What does the charity do normally ?
“The purpose of the charity is to provide respite care for young people who live with siblings who are disabled or sick. This can be very stressful for young people, and we like to be able to provide some time away from home and the responsibilities that they will feel about their disabled brother or sister.”
What kind of respite does the charity offer?
“We aim to offer the opportunity to get away from the stresses at home, even for a few hours. We organise day trips and residentials where young people can just enjoy themselves without responsibilities. One of our young people said after the last trip: ‘The Sibling Group, is where I come to feel normal.’
“We regularly hear that siblings miss out on family holidays and trips because of the limitations imposed by their brother’s or sister’s condition. We also know that the young people we support spend a lot of their time worried about their brother or sister. Sometimes they are cast into the role of young carers. As if that wasn’t hard enough, some have been bullied because of their family situation.”
What sort of places would you normally go to?
“We go to places that the young people choose, both inside and outside Pembrokeshire – popular destinations for our day trips include Folly Farm and Hangar 5. In recent years we have also done an annual ‘wildcamp’ with colleagues from Clynfyw Care Farm helping to provide bushcraft activities.”
Lee told us that a dedicated team provides support to children and young people aged seven to 18, usually with three residential trips each year, typically March, August and October.
“These involve action-packed workshops where the siblings can get together with other children and young people who experience similar situations to themselves. We use many methods to work with the young people, including puppets, art and crafts, and cooking where our aim is to raise awareness of their situations and share experiences with each other. Our ultimate aim is to put the childhood back into the child.”
With the current situation regarding the coronavirus , is the sibling group able to offer support just now?
“ Of course we cannot meet at the moment, but all of our group have contact details, and the young people know who they can talk to if they have any problems or just need to chat. Once these restrictions are lifted and we know it’s safe, we will be delighted to see each other again and enjoy some fun activities together. ”
The Pembrokeshire Sibling Group has a Facebook page where you can find out more information.