Dan Johnson, MYTIME's new Level Up Manager has a busy first week at MYTIME for the International Young Carers Conference

16th Apr 2024
Young Carers Conference 2024

My first week at MYTIME…. 

The week started nice and slowly with a few hours in the office to meet some of the team and complete the usual ‘new job’ tasks like training and IT support. However, within hours the pace changed, and I was off to Manchester with our CEO Krista and 3 Young Carers to attend the International Young Carers Conference, an invaluable experience that I will be forever grateful for at the start of my MYTIME journey! 


Conference day one: 

“We want unconditional support which is available to everybody” 

The team arrived at Manchester Metropolitan University and we were immediately greeted by Saul Becker (We obviously took the opportunity to get a photo!) who provided us with a tour and run through of the next few days. Once other young carers and their supporting delegates had arrived and we had taken advantage of the complimentary lunch, we took some time to work through two seminars. The first was in place to allow us to get to know each other as a large group; a vital activity as we had guests from all over the world including Australia, Belgium, Ireland and Sweden. Through this activity, it was fascinating and incredibly insightful to hear the different position that each country was in with young carer provision. In the afternoon seminar we heard from policy makers from around the world, explaining their countries position and how they were going to try and ‘level the playing field’. To close the day, Krista and I led an activity (The ex-teacher in us couldn’t help but get involved!) to allow the young carers to reflect on the day by creating a group statement that would be read on the final day of the conference. This was an incredibly powerful activity, hearing the young carers discuss personal and international issues that they felt needed to be addressed. 


Conference day two:

“We need to make sure that the young carers of today don’t become the cared for of the future” 

Day two saw the arrival of an additional 200 delegates to the conference, so we all gathered in the main lecture theatre in anticipation for the conference opening. It did not disappoint; Saul delivered an inspiring speech followed by some of the young carers and adult young carers. Craig and Nicole, two of the young carers that travelled with us were part of this and delivered a statement on support, which was one of many opportunities for delegates to listen to the voices of the young carers. It soon became apparent that the voice of young carers and young adult carers would rightfully be the consistent theme across the entire conference.  

The rest of the day was very insightful, we were lucky to hear from a range of speakers in the form of plenaries and seminars. All of us split up with the aim of listening to as many speakers as possible and arguments were had over who had been to the most interesting one! As day two closed, we rushed home to get ready for the conference dinner at the prestigious venue, Old Trafford, hosted by our very own, Krista! The evening was a huge success and as always Krista was an incredible host. She moderated a discussion with John Shields from the Manchester United Community Foundation, followed by talks from Craig and Oritse Williams (Former JLS superstar and current solo artist! This took me down memory lane…) about their experiences of growing up as Young Carers and the change they would like to see. Oritse then delivered some spoken word to the audience, this was incredibly moving for all present. Krista finished the evening by hosting a classic game of ‘heads or tails’ which we all found entertaining, unfortunately none of the MYTIME party made it to the final but it was impressive to see the knowledge of candidates, resulting in a tie break question about Krista’s dog … Ernie to decide the final! 


Conference day three:

“We are the next Generation” 

At this point we were struggling to know what day, month or year it was after a busy few days, but nevertheless we arrived full of energy ready for another day of learning. Similarly to day two, we spent the day circulating a range of plenaries and seminars, which left us all in awe at the standard of delivery and content being shared. There were a few nerves as we built toward the closing statement, which meant our lunch break was spent rehearsing (my Drama teachers would have been proud looking on as I did my best to ensure all performing felt confident and ready). Once they were ready, I had the privilege of introducing the closing statement to the 250 delegates in attendance, this was a really proud moment and I felt on day four, my MYTIME career may have already peaked! The statement itself was amazing, their delivery was flawless, all the work they had put in was worth it and they were more than deserving of the extended standing ovation that followed. To close, a tearful Saul shared his heartfelt gratitude to the young carers on an inspiring statement to the world and we all gathered our thoughts.  

All that was left to do now was complete the travel home from Manchester, the five hour journey was full of reflection (And McDonalds) after an epic few days! 

What. A. Week!  

Young Carers International Conference