Little Dreamers is a dream come true.
The national organisation – established in 2009 by Madeleine Buchner when she was just 16 – supports young people who are carers of family members affected by disability, chronic or mental illness, addiction or frail age.
When Madeleine Buchner was a child, her younger brother had many health issues and was in-and-out of hospital for years. “I realised mum and dad were getting a lot of support in terms of support from organisations, and my brother was getting a lot of support from doctors, but I wasn’t; nobody was really noticing there was another sibling, feeling left out, or the extra stress and anxiety [the situation brought for them],” Madeleine said.
Madeleine founded Little Dreamers to change that.
One in 10 young people are carers across Australia. These roles vary significantly and Little Dreamers generally supports 5000 young carers a year. These young carers need to balance their own needs and education with those needs of their family member and don’t always have the means or the time to reach out and ask for help. This is where Little Dreamers comes in; they offer the carer this help, which can take many forms.
Programs are offered online and in-person and vary from online school tutoring, playing online games and Dream Experiences which are similar to ‘Make a Wish’, for young carers. They can include hotel stays, time with animals, some pampering or tickets to a show.
Over the last couple of years, awareness of Little Dreamers has skyrocketed through The Young Carer Advocacy Project that visits schools and talks to students about young carers and during the pandemic, Little Dreamers reach has increased due to more online availability and accessibility.
They also have a school holiday program that is held across regional and metro areas of the country. The program involves a series of workshops for carers who are aged 18 – 25 to help them get a hold of moving into the world of adulthood and, there’s a Dreamers’ Hub which features additional support, workshops and webinars.
Little Dreamers continues to broaden their reach. They now have access to State and Federal Government funding – which covers 50% of costs – and have a ‘Giving Program’ and hold fundraisers. In the last 12 years, they have grown to have 52 staff across the eastern states and their need is only rising.
At Carer Solutions, we love the that Little Dreamers recognise the wider community and acknowledge the awesome siblings and children who work in their own families to help those living with disability.
Learn more about the amazing work Little Dreamers does here.