Young carer Xena does everything for her mum, Katie, including acting as mum to her brother, Harvey, nine.
Katie has had health problems since she was 17, when she fell pregnant with Xena, who was named after the fictional warrior princess.
Xena certainly lives up to her heroine nickname, carrying a huge amount of responsibility on her shoulders.
She does all of the cooking and cleaning, and helps her mum with basic tasks like bathing and using the toilet. Katie is virtually housebound and can’t go anywhere without Xena’s help.
Xena also takes care of her brother, Harvey, who has his own medical needs.
“Xena has always been caring,” explained Katie. “When she was little she asked me about Mother Teresa and how she helped the poor – then she asked if they could go out too to give money to the poor on the streets. She’s very mature for her age and I’m very open and straightforward with her – I don’t sugar-coat things.”
Xena may be mature for her age, but that doesn’t mean she finds things easy. Taking on so much left her with anxiety problems, and she often felt low.
But Spurgeons has changed things for Xena.
Now, Xena has a family support worker, Natalie, who has given Xena the tools and confidence she needs to cope.
“Natalie is a ball of light,” says Katie. “ She knows exactly how to talk to Xena and has had a very positive impact.”
Spurgeons has also helped the family to build some happy memories.
Through their Young Carers service, they’ve organised picnics and trips out for Xena and the family.
"Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out of the windows which hope has opened"
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
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Spurgeons runs a number of support services and interventions to help improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families and give them a more hope-filled future.