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Community / Isles to host second festival of care

SHETLAND will host its second annual Festival of Care on later this month, with the event aiming to shine a light on care experienced residents.

Who Cares? Scotland and Shetland Islands Council have organised the event in collaboration with care experienced young people, who are named the #ShetlandCrew.

The aim is to challenge myths, stereotypes and popular understandings of care, and celebrate the unique achievements of the isles’ care experienced young people.

A programme of events can be found here.

This year’s theme is ‘Being the Light’ – raising questions such as how do our young people bring light into all our lives? How can we be lights and beacons for them? How do we find ways of kindling light even in the toughest of times?

The festival will include a series of online opportunities for young people, carers, professionals and the wider community.

Launching on national care day (19 February) and running to 23 February, it will explore, engage and connect with care experience from a young person’s perspective through, art, culture and interactive online workshop experiences.

Care experienced young islanders are producing works of public art installed across Lerwick.

These works bring together lived experience and the art of those who grow up with experience of care, in collaboration with Dr Siun Carden, research fellow for rural creativity at the University of the Highland and Islands, and distinguished Shetland poet Jen Hadfield.

Ciara North, from #ShetlandCrew, said: “The Festival of Care aims to show that care experienced people are a light within the community, that we all deserve a voice, and how no-one is alone when it comes to being care experienced.

“Being care experienced can be a huge part of someone’s life. It can be hard to grow up within these circumstances. Being in care shouldn’t be something that has to be faced alone and the Festival of Care hopes to highlight how everyone can make a difference, no matter how small.”

Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee chairman George Smith said: “I am delighted that Shetland is holding its second annual Festival of Care.

“Circumstances are clearly different from our first festival but in many ways that makes it all the more important that we celebrate the work being done to support and listen to our care experienced young people and those supporting them.

“The Independent Care Review concluded in 2020 with its findings, The Promise, now at the start of the implementation phase. While this is a long term piece of work it will be useful to explore how we intend taking it forward in Shetland – some of the Festive of Care workshops will help to inform that. I look forward to a weekend of celebration and learning.”