Levi Cosker with her cousin and member of Young Carers, Lily Moffatt.

Thank you Levi

Levi provides fun and structure for young carers during lockdown

Levi Cosker manages the Young Carers Respite Service in South Tyneside. Her team of five look after over 300 young carers, aged 5-24, and their families, who are amongst the most vulnerable in the borough in terms of their personal circumstances and the underlying health issues within the family.

Levi, 26, from Whiteleas, South Shields, has been nominated by Rachel Kitson, operations manager of learning and standards at Groundwork South and North Tyneside.

Rachel said: “Levi is a true social care warrior. She has worked tirelessly with her team since the onset of COVID-19 to transform the service into one that is both a ‘virtual’ service and a different type of hands-on service for those families most in need.

“At the same time, Levi has fought hard over the last few weeks to attract other funding streams which have helped to develop the 'hands-on' service, meaning that she can organise for essential shopping and food parcels to be delivered to families as well as picking up prescriptions for those who are sheltering at home.”

Levi said: “We are currently running a virtual service on channels such as zoom and teams and a lot of our members are enjoying 1-2-1 chats with us, either on the phone or Facebook messenger and we also post daily activities. For example, every Monday we do a homework task and we have workout Wednesdays and family Fridays, where we encourage everyone to do something fun like a scavenger hunt.

“We are dropping off pack lunches to the young carers who are of school age and we have made food packages for those who can’t leave the house. We make lists and spend several hours every day shopping to ensure that everyone has all the essentials. Local South Tyneside business, Katie’s Garden has been a huge help in creating bespoke craft boxes which we have been dropping off to our young carers to keep them entertained during lockdown.

“The team has been absolutely outstanding and I speak for all of us when I say that we miss each and every one of our young carers and we can’t wait to be together again soon!”

The Mayor of South Tyneside Councillor Norman Dick, said: “On behalf of the people of South Tyneside, the Mayoress and I would like to convey our gratitude to you for looking after young carers and their families who are among the most vulnerable in the Borough.

“It’s wonderful to see this kind of team work and, as the Borough’s First Citizen, I would like to say a huge personal thank you for being part of our community and for helping us address this challenge in an extremely positive way. We are extremely #proud.”