Josh Clowes from St Austell is one of hundreds of young carers in Cornwall who has taken on the responsibility of looking after a parent, sibling or relative. Josh helps his mother, Diane, who suffers from Gitelman’s Syndrome, a rare kidney disease which can cause muscle weakness and fatigue.
Through a campaign launched in the West Briton earlier this year, the Cornwall Young Carers Project appealed for local businesses to come forward who could offer gifts and experiences that would provide respite for young carers like Josh – which is where Classic Cottages came in.
The Helston-based specialist holiday lettings company offered Josh and his family the chance to choose one of their self-catering cottages to visit for a much-needed break, and now Josh, his mum and his grandmother are looking forward to a short break in Penzance next year.
Josh’s mum Diane Clowes said: “Josh and I were both really excited when we were offered the break with Classic Cottages, as it will be our first holiday in five years and we’ve never been to Penzance before. It’s come at a really good time as we were supposed to go on holiday with my sister this year, but her baby was sick so it had to be cancelled.
“Having Josh to help around the house makes such a massive difference to me – if I didn’t have him I wouldn’t be able to manage on my own. I’m lucky to have other family living nearby so he doesn’t have to miss out on going out with his friends, but he still does a lot and really deserves the holiday.”
The Clowes family will be spending a weekend in February at Chy Mor, a terraced cottage on the sea front in Penzance. The property, let by Classic Cottages, has fantastic views over Mounts Bay looking out towards St Michaels’ Mount, and also has a nearby children’s play area.
Simon Tregoning, Chairman of Classic Cottages said: “Children like Josh work so hard and take on responsibilities that even many adults would struggle with, so I felt like the least we could do is offer a few days respite from that with a short stay at one of our properties. The Cornwall Young Carers Project helped us to find a family that would really benefit from it, and I hope that Josh and his family really enjoy the break.”
The Cornwall Young Carers Project works with more than 400 young carers across the county providing help and support, but has just two full-time members of staff and relies on donations to keep running.
Millie Lindfield from the Cornwall Young Carers Project said: “Because of his mum’s illness it is difficult for Josh to do the things a normal boy of his age would do, such as going to cinema or going out with friends. Josh’s grandmother lives nearby and helps out, but she is also looking after her elderly mother who has dementia - they are quite an amazing family all in all! The holiday in Penzance will do the family the world of good, and we are really grateful to Classic Cottages for donating it.”
The Who Cares? campaign is still running, and looking for businesses and volunteers who can help Cornwall’s young carers. Anyone wishing to help should contact Richard Whitehouse on 01872 247426, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Classic Cottages is a specialist self catering letting agency based in Helston, Cornwall employing 30 staff. Classic Cottages market around 700 high quality self catering holiday cottages in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. More information can be found at www.classic.co.uk.
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