There are so many ways that UK laundry sector businesses are supporting the vital work that charities do in our communities at grass roots level. Here's one fantastic way that Johnsons Apparelmaster is helping local work with young carers in Gateshead. The plant regularly opens up ‘safe spaces’ in its facilities for the Young Carers Service, part of the Carers Trust Tyne and Wear, for their work with this vulnerable group of young people.

As part of its celebration of ‘safe spaces’ on International Youth Day in August, the United Nations stated: ‘Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves’.

Derek Overton, general manager of Johnsons Apparelmaster Gateshead (pictured) couldn’t agree more: “We have been supporting the charity’s valuable work with around 600 young carers in the region for some four years now. This group of under 18s all help to care for someone who has a long term illness or disability and the Young Carers support workers offer them information, advice, practical support and vital respite. But they need somewhere that they can meet and get involved in activities.

“We recognise how important this service is, providing a lifeline to many young people, and have been delighted to help provide these ‘safe spaces’ in our facilities, as well as food and refreshments. Our training room supports practical exercises to enable the young people to carry out their responsibilities while still enjoying their childhood. Our staff also help to raise vital funds for the service with donations raised through regular raffles.”

Derek has volunteered for over 30 years with Radio Lollipop for children in hospital, where he met and was inspired by a fellow volunteer who works with Gateshead Young Carers.

Anthony Lea, business development manager for Carers Trust Tyne & Wear, added: “Help from local business partners is essential for us to continue to provide support to our young carers. We have worked with Johnsons Apparelmaster for several years now and they have helped in a variety of ways, from arranging raffles to putting us forward for funding.  Even access to a room can make a huge difference.”