News  /  Local Community

Powerhouse community pulls together to help young carers

Published on 7 August 2023

It’s inspiring to see the positive connections cultivated by The Didcot Powerhouse Fund – of which the Park is a founding member and keen supporter – with sustainable travel partner Thames Travel stepping in to help young carers in the local community.

In a perfect example of how companies and charities can work together to support the local community, Didcot Powerhouse Fund donor Thames Travel and Pulhams Coaches have ridden to the rescue of one of Didcot Powerhouse’s grant recipients, Be Free Young Carers, in their hour of emergency.

Recently, the closure of a local coach firm caused chaos for Be Free Young Carers who had booked several coaches for summer respite activities for their carers. As a small, non-government charity this would have had a major impact on the 80+ young carers who were looking forward to these respite trips, as well as financially for the charity, and with little time to organise replacement coaches for the outings. 

Be Free Young Carers is a grant recipient of The Didcot Powerhouse Fund and put a distress call out to their supporters. A few well-placed phone calls later, Thames Travel, a Didcot Powerhouse donor stepped forward to help so the trips can go ahead as planned.

Luke Marion, Managing Director of Thames Travel, Oxford Bus Company, and Pulhams Coaches, said: “We tried to speak to as many affected staff and customers as possible, to see if we could assist with offers of employment or pick up any journeys at risk of being cancelled. It was helpful to hear from our contacts at The Didcot Powerhouse Fund, who we support through Thames Travel, about the situation involving Be Free Young Carers. I’m delighted our team at Pulhams Coaches could cover the trips so the young carers could still enjoy their summer outings. We honoured the prices previously agreed with Heyfordian, to minimise the financial burden for the charity.”

Sabiene North, CEO of Be Free Young Carers, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Thames Travel for their assistance and Pulhams who are providing replacement coaches for our booked trips. Recent studies show that more than a quarter of young carers spend over 10 hours every day caring for loved ones in the school holidays, and our team are thrilled that we can now provide an exciting and essential lifeline of support for them through these breaks. We would like to send a huge thank you to Luke and the team for all their help and support during this potential crisis moment.”

Elizabeth Paris, Chair of The Didcot Powerhouse Fund, said: “We were delighted to hear that one of our donors could save the day for Be Free Young Carers and these are exactly the kind of positive connections we try to cultivate between our donors and grant recipients, beyond simply fundraising and grant-giving.  The power of networking is incalculable, and this perfectly illustrates how collaboration can turn a negative into a positive.”

Veronica Reynolds, Sustainability and Community Manager at Milton Park, said: “We are very grateful to our partners at Thames Travel for not only being a generous donor to The Didcot Powerhouse Fund, but also for stepping up to help out Be Free Young Carers.”

For more information on The Didcot Powerhouse Fund, please visit: 

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