Islesolation gallery

Reflect / Appreciate / Explore

The YMCA Young Carers Service Isle of Wight supports around 300 young people aged 5 – 18 who provide physical and/or emotional care to someone they live with due to disability, long term illness, mental health issues or drug/alcohol misuse. The service supports these incredible young people through 1to1 sessions, respite activities, physical and mental wellbeing projects, signposting and referral to specialised services.
The lives of Young Carers are ‘normally’ tinged with uncertainty and worry, for many their escape from responsibility and duty and their opportunity to be a child is the stability of going to school 5 days a week. In the new ‘normal’ of lockdown these vulnerable young people have been spending all their time at home with the parents/siblings who they provide physical and/or emotional support for, for some this has put new strains on their relationships and emotional wellbeing for others it has bought them closer than ever before. Reflect/Appreciate/Explore will support and nurture a group of Young Carers to express their lockdown experiences, thoughts and emotions through the creation of visual art pieces under the ‘virtual’ guidance and instruction of local illustrator and educator Studio Wren.
Instagram: @studio_wren 


Collaged mixed media houses which reflect the thoughts and feelings of lockdown as a Young Carer, exploring the use of colour, shape and texture to express emotion. These colourful, tactile creations are accompanied by Cinquain Poems which boil down the whole experience of lockdown into a short, powerful reflection.


Mixed media sculptural love bugs incorporate at their heart a message of the things and people that the Young Carer is thankful for. A visual symbol of the things that support their resilience and positive wellbeing, supporting the young person to identify their own protective factors, promoting feelings of stability and confidence whilst exploring new materials like acetate and wire.


Having looked back and taken stock of current protective factors the final step sees the Young Carers explore their feelings about the future, the idea of returning to ‘normal’ and the worries and anxieties that accompany another change. These concerns are expressed through the creation of worry beads, a device used throughout history to promote mindfulness and alleviate tension, worries are written in the centre of hand rolled, colourful, patterned paper beads strung together on wool and finished with a handmade tassel.