I’m Hanna Sampson and I am a young carer for my autistic sister. I can’t actually remember when I first started caring for her, but I was first labelled as a young carer back in 2017 after an assessment from Bristol and South Gloucestershire young carers. Since then, I have been an advocate for young carers’ needs.
I attended Young Carers Voice, a monthly group where we would discuss issues that young carers face and tackle them. Through this, I was given amazing opportunities to raise awareness. Together we have created two films: ‘Who cares in school?’ Which focuses on young carers in school and ‘My mental health project’ which focuses on our own mental health needs as young carers.
The ‘Who cares in schools’ film led to a 130% increase in school registering to young carers programmes. I also gave a teacher training assembly and two whole school assemblies about young carers with the hope of setting up a young carers group at my own school but unfortunately received little to no support. Again, this was also a common experience.
I have also had the pleasure of going to Parliament with other young carers across the country to talk to MPs about the needs of young carers. I have given numerous seminars and workshops to health professionals, worked on the 15-step programme at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston, and helped develop the Bristol City Council Young Carers Strategy.
This year was my last year at the young carers service and I was honoured with the Diana Award for all my work with them. It feels so amazing to be recognised in such a prestigious way, especially as this year would have marked her 60th Birthday.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the ceremony was online but it was still fantastic and had special guests celebrating the recipients, including the Duke of Sussex! Princess Diana is a true inspiration to us all, a reminder that anyone has the power to change the world and it is a true honour to be recognised in her legacy.