Happy New Year 2021! What a strange year 2020 was, hoping that this year brings better days.. Thank you to all our supporters and friends. 

Chairman's Report 2020

“A year of good progress” for TYKES is how 2020 has been described by Board chairman, Major General Patrick Marriot in his annual Chairman’s report to the Board of Directors. The Young Carers Sutherland (TYKES) charity, who provide support for young and young adult carers throughout Sutherland, have been proactive during the Coronavirus pandemic by adopting new working practices. The new and sometimes radical approaches have ensured that young carers have continued to receive valuable support during unsettling times. Patrick Marriot is particularly pleased at the appointment of a new support worker based in Kinlochbervie and describes it as “an important step, as up until now, TYKES has focused primarily on South East Sutherland.” 

The charity’s new premises, on Golspie’s industrial estate, are now “wholly fit for purpose in an excellent location,” reports Patrick Marriot. The TYKES charity shop closed during lockdown but new premises within Golspie are being considered. The charity remains financially sound and has benefitted from a number of Covid related grants in addition to those who routinely grant financial support. Board chairman, Patrick Marriot, is delighted with the response from the local community. He said: “there have been some exceptional private donations made during 2020 for which directors are very grateful; the generosity of the people of Sutherland is outstanding.” 

The Board of Directors now stands at its full complement of 11 members with four new appointments made during 2020. The chairman said of the new volunteers, “all are exceptionally well qualified and we are grateful to them for their commitment.” The new Directors are Simon Scott, Golspie, Graeme Smart, Kinlochbervie, along with Louise Mackay and Susan Smith, both from Brora. The Board has formed a new Fundraising and Communications group to look at the long-term plans for fundraising and strategies for advertising and communication. The Board’s Strategy group will be discussing the ‘Future Direction of TYKES 2021-2031’ during the coming year with the aim of seeking directors’ approval for the plans by the end of 2021. Patrick Marriot made particular mention of the Board’s grateful thanks to their patrons, Lord Strathnaver and Mrs Clare Mclellan, and the emeritus directors, volunteers, supporters and donors by saying their “gentle work and generosity remains an example to us all.” On behalf of the board and ‘Tykes’ across Sutherland, he closed the report by praising the staff of TYKES, “whose determination and effort during the year has been exceptional.” 

Tykes manager, Myra Clark, reported to the board that staff are coming up with new ideas all the time with a recent ‘make your own Pizza day’ enjoyed by over 80 young carers. Rob Stephenson, Thyme and Plaice, Helmsdale helped to provide the kit and released the secret recipe for his pizza dough mix! TYKES staff have prepared Halloween and Autumn themed activity packs to give young carers some holiday fun and entertainment over the October school break. Deliveries will be made to all young carers in Sutherland. ends

Huge thanks to Emily Lacey-Teagle (Tesco Community Champion Tain) for her help and donation of a trolley load of Pumpkins.. S

The spiders are out, the ghosts are here, trick or treating is coming near. When witches go riding and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers..' tis nearly Halloween..S #Halloween
Huge thanks to Rob from Thyme and Plaice in Helmsdale for making up the Young Carers Pizza Boxes to bake at home.. #pizza #youngcarers #tykescarers
Huge thanks to Rob from Thyme and Plaice in Helmsdale for making up the Young Carers Pizza Boxes to bake at home.. #pizza #youngcarers #tykescarers

YPI success for Tykes and Golspie High School S3 Pupils

Golspie High School hosted their #YPI Final yesterday with five teams supporting issues including #poverty #mentalhealth & #isolation. Well done to Team Tykes who brought to life a hidden issue, talking with honesty about #YoungCarers. Huge thanks to our local partner #The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle a big thank you to The Rotary Club East Sutherland @rotaryclub of East #Sutherland who donated £200 and the S3 pupils at Golspie High School who raised £50

A massive thank you to everyone who took part and to the amazing S3 pupils for representing Tykes who are delighted to receive a cheque for £3000... Well done!

Tykes would like to wish all a very Happy New

Year and all the best for 2019

 Highlife Highland Fun Day.. Swim, Gym, Arts n' Crafts and Craik!    

Halloween Fun at The Hub!


Two senior Young Carers were involved a consultation around planning mental health support in rural areas

A happy workforce is a productive workforce.

Training increases the wellbeing of employees and reduces absenteeism, mistakes and stress in the workplace.

Training Organised for staff:

Autism Awareness

Diabetes Awareness

Gender Equality

Day Trips

July, 5 young carers went to Achmelvic beach, they took some fishing nets, buckets and spades, beach ball. They enjoyed looking in the rock pools for crabs and other insects. We had a picnic on the beach. A great day had by all.


Day Trips

July, 5 young carers went to Inverness to Whin Park, they went on the train that goes along side of the park and enjoyed playing in the park. After that they got treated to lunch at McDonalds in Inverness. We then went to Fortrose to see if we could see the dolphins and had a nice walk along the beach.

Day Trips

July, a day trip was organised for 4 young carers to Grey Cairns of Dunbeath. The kids had a great time in the caves, it was interesting to learn some of the history about the caves. We went down to the port to sit and eat our lunch. The kids wanted to play at the park in Dunbeath for a while before heading back home.

Breakout Games Inverness

Welcome to Inverness’ newest and most exciting entertainment activity – Breakout escape games!

Our real-life escape games (a bit like the TV programme The Crystal Maze) are specially designed to challenge and excite your group as you race against the clock to uncover clues and complete a series of puzzles.

With just 60 minutes on the clock, teams of 2-6 players must work together drawing on their problem solving skills focusing on making good their escape before the time runs out.

We have three bespoke escape games on offer in Inverness featuring two identical units of “Lock and Key” which enables larger teams to race each other to escape!

4 Young Carers took part, had a great time, and unfortunately didn’t manage to solve all of the problems and were locked in. (not for long though)


Highlife Highland Day Trips

High Life Highland develops and promotes opportunities in culture, learning, sport, leisure, health and wellbeing across nine services throughout the whole of the Highlands, for both residents and visitors.

Day trips in conjunction with Highlife Highland have been happening on a monthly basis and will continue for a year.

Here’s a list of activities:

Aquadome Inverness – Swimming

Swim/Gym/Games – Golspie Community Centre

Ice Skating in Inverness

Dinner at The Floral Hall Inverness then shopping

Pamper Night - Brora


MFR Community Awards

This year sees the fourth MFR Community Awards in aid of Cash for Kids. Taking place at the Drumossie Hotel on Thursday 14th September we celebrated a selection of inspirational members of the MFR communities.

This is an exciting high profile event, raising money for MFR’s Cash for Kids which helps disadvantaged children right on your doorstep, here in the North of Scotland. 

The awards will celebrate outstanding individuals and groups across Highland, Moray and Aberdeenshire communities.


We will hear stories of great strength, courage, commitment and contribution to our local area.

                                                      © Neil G Paterson Photography   


The MFR Cash for Kids Award sponsored by Harrison’s

WINNER: Myra Clarke of Tykes (The Young Karers East Sutherland)



Scottish Young Carers Festival

A festival is being held for more than 600 young carers which provides a break from caring and an opportunity for them to speak to politicians.

The three-day event brings hundreds of carers from across Scotland, aged eight to 18, together. Tykes attended this year’s festival  with a total of 33 young carers and they had a blast.

The Scottish Government estimates there are 44,000 carers aged under 16 but a charity said research indicates this figure is likely to be much higher.

Young carers look after someone in their family who has an illness or disability, or is affected by mental ill-health or substance abuse.

The Scottish Young Carers Festival opens on Tuesday at an outdoor centre in West Linton in the Borders - the same day as Scottish secondary school pupils' exam results are announced.

Carers Trust Scotland, who organise the festival, said 86% of those at last year's event said being a young carer affected them being able to do homework.

The charity said young carers often taken on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.

Activities at the festival, which is funded by the Scottish Government, include a talent show, silent disco, ceilidh and cinema, as well as dozens of workshops for the 650 people attending. 

On the final day, they will have the chance to speak to MSPs and councillors as well as health and education officials.

Florence Burke, Carers Trust's director for Scotland, said the festival, now in its tenth year, has become a highlight of the summer for many of the young people the charity supports.

"We know many of them will be waiting to hear exam results which could have a bearing on what they do next and wondering how that could affect their caring roles,'' she said.

"Young carers don't often have the opportunity to speak to people like politicians and education officials, people whose decisions can have a big impact on these young carers' lives.''



Whitewave Respite - 10 P6/7 1st Year young cares headed off to Whitewave Outdoor Centre. They were subjected to the worst weather ever on a respite break. This didn't dampen spirits as the all agreed it was a fantastic time. 

Photo shows an activity called Crating:

We offer an activity called crating. Using a safety rope participants climb up a stack of plastic bottle crates as high as they can go. Eventually the crates fall and the climber is carefully lowered to the ground on the rope. This activity involves team work, balance, nerve, courage and trust in the person supporting the climber. It is a great team building activity for groups, but also for family challenges along side an archery tournament.




Abernethy Respite

9 Girls visited Abernethy Ardeonaig at Loch Tay. The weather was great, instructors were great, and we all had a fantastic time. 





Boys Day Out - Off Roading

6 boys headed off with Magi to Broombank Off Road Centre in Edderton. They all had a brilliant time and got the chance to experience off roading in all its muddy glory.


Click here to edit text

Upcoming Event

There is to be a Fashion Show held in conjunction with Golspie High School Home Economics Dept. This is to highlight GHS Year 2's aprons that they have made. They plan to hold a fashion show using clothes from the Tykes Charity Shop. There will also be craft stalls, a raffle and refreshments.

Date, Venue & Ticket Prices to follow..

Golspie Bowling Club

Golspie Bowling Club are hosting an event on Saturday 22nd May 2016 all day, food and beverages will be provided and served by Tykes, with proceeds donated to Tykes.

Raising funds for Tykes

Huge thanks to Breagha, Corin, Siobhan and Sam of Dornoch Academy, They chose to highlight Tykes in the Youth & Philanthropy Initiative competition and won £3000 for the project.. woohoo!

They now go on to compete in Perth against other winning YIP teams from all over Scotland.

February 2016

The TYKES Charity Shop in Duke Street, Golspie has now re-opened.. come and visit us soon!

January 2016

Tykes were winners of Co-op Local Fund. £1,500, voted on Facebook by local supporters.

This will be used to develop a safe play area at the back of the building for relaxation and activities for the young carers.


January 2016



***** THANK YOU *****








Won by Seonaidh MacKay, Golspie High School

TEDDY……………………….Name: Pebbles

Won by Jillian MacLennan, Inverness






Dec 2015
A huge thank you to MFR Cash For Kids for the donations received to help our families over the Festive period..

June 2015
Investors In People & Investors In Young People Accreditation

Congratulations are in order! We have achieved the Investors in People Accreditation & Investors in Young People Accreditation. We are also the first organisation in Scotland to achieve both accreditations at the same time, so well done to all!

Investors in People -  A respected stamp of quality worldwide, which shows your employees you care, it shows your customers you are different and it shows your competitors you’ve got the edge.

Investors in Young People Accreditation, the only people management standard that focuses on an employer’s recruitment and retention of young people. This represents a true commitment to the training and development of young people and demonstrates TYKES (The Young Karers East Sutherland) as an employer of choice for young people.

February 2015 - A huge thank you to the Cambusavie Unit at the Lawson Memorial Hospital for the donation of £164 which was raised through fundraising. 










January 2015 - A new year and all staff are raring to go after the Festive break, lots of new ideas for the drop-ins.

October 2014 - Another very successful Dine and Donate fundraising evening at Dunrobin Castle which raised £8000 :-) 

Summer 2014


Tykes are delighted to announce that they have been chosen by HMS Sutherland as a nominated charity.

Summer 2013

Lots of good things happened over the summer, with respite holidays to Hopscotch, Badaguish x2, and the island of Mull.

Here's just a taster..

Summer 2012

Great respite for 9 young carers in Kinlocheil, many thanks to Camp & Trek and Kushi Adventures for all activities, rock climbing, canoeing, nightline and lots of games.

Highlight of the week was a fantastic day at the beach near Mallaig, with stunt kites and swimming in the sea.


Drop ins are back up and running

Lot?s planned, including wall art with Martin Spears

Hopefully we will be starting up the lunchtime drop in at Golspie High School at some point this term, we will keep you posted. 

Confirmed date of 27th October for dine & donate in Dunrobin Castle!


We are happy to announce the above date for our very successful and popular dinner and auction evening in the magnificent surroundings of Dunrobin Castle.


We have a guest speaker tbc, and there will be the usual mix of music, magic, auction prizes and our famous Golden Ticket. Our theme will be a mix of vintage black and white and diamond to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee.


Further details will be posted, as and when they are confirmed, but if you require more info sooner or wish to book tickets or a table, which seat 10 persons, do not hesitate to contact.


Ferrycroft 3rd April 2012
We braved the wintery weather to travel to the Ferrycroft Centre in Lairg for a fun day out! 15 young carers and 3 workers enjoyed a day of willow making and an educational walk through the woods with Ranger Ian. The funniest thing that happened on the day was a small terrier dog that was being walked by it's owners ran past us and grabbed a bag of resources that the Ranger brought with him. The owner then spent 10mins trying to get it back off the dog!


1st March 2012  

            GOLSPIE based charity TYKES (The Young Karers East Sutherland), which supports young carers, is celebrating the award of over £53,000 from Children in Need.

The three-year funding package will enable the group to expand its operations to Sutherland?s West Coast.

Manager of Tykes, Myra Clark, said: "We?re over the moon at this award and I?m so grateful for the belief and support Children in Need have in our project."

An outreach worker will now be appointed to cover West Sutherland which has not had a dedicated child carers support scheme for around nine years.

Mrs Clark continued: "Initially this work will be done through contact with schools and other children?s organisations until such time we need space for group working.

"The service will include one-to-one sessions, group work and access to respite breaks ? all aimed at reducing the feelings of isolation often experienced by young carers.

Tykes, which was launched in 2005, currently provides group activities, drop-in sessions, and one-to-one sessions along with activities, counselling and support for 71 school-age youngsters in East Sutherland, all of whom have a caring role at home.

Referrals are made through teachers, social workers and health workers or self-referrals.

It costs over £100,000 a year to keep Tykes afloat and the group relies on financial support from a wide range of organisations including charitable trusts, donations and statutory sector grants.

A £270,000 National Lottery Award in 2009 secured the group?s future for five years.

The Tykes office at Duke Street is open from Monday to Thursday 9am - 5pm and on a Friday 9am - 3pm and the charity can be contacted on 01408 633017.

  Young carers in Sutherland will be given time out to make new friends and get a break from their caring situation at home, thanks to a grant of £269,873. Over the next five years TYKES (The Young Karers East Sutherland) will support 70 young carers to attend youth groups and other social events that will allow them to be children first and have fun.

Tykes project manager Myra Clark, said: "I am absolutely delighted at the news of our award from the Big Lottery Fund, and thank everyone involved for their confidence and support in our project. The difference the award will make to our project is huge. As the award is for five years funding it means that the pressures of continually looking for funds to continue our service to many young carers in our area is now somewhat eased and also means that we can put some longer term plans in place, giving a more sustainable service to the young people."

 Northern Times

New website for young carers


Young carers group Tykes are celebrating their second birthday by launching a new website. After five years under the umbrella of Crossroads Care East Sutherland, the Young Carers project based in Golspie was relaunched in 2005 and has since went from strength to strength, with the addition of two part-time staff and a full-time field worker.


At present the project supports about 60 young people, ranging in age from eight to 18, providing one to one sessions, counselling and support for emotional and other problems.


The launch of the website co-incides with National Carers Week which runs from 11-17 June will further raise awareness of the project and provide access to information for young carers, parents and professionals. The website was setup by fieldworker Steve Murray who joined the project in November said ?I felt that it would be a great way of providing information about young carers to all those with access to a computer, including those living in remote areas?.




Northern Times 
Tykes take the keys to their own wheels
Published:  26 January, 2007


Photo by Clive Grewcock

A FUNDING boost has enabled an East Sutherland group which looks after young carers to purchase its own transport.

The Young Karers East Sutherland (Tykes) received £21,000 from YouthLink Scotland ? an organisation that supports the youth work sector ? towards the cost of a vehicle.

Tykes project manager Myra Clark took possession on Monday of a brand new, seven-seater people carrier bought from Ness Motors in Inverness.

She and field workers Magi Mackenzie and Steve Murray will use the vehicle to take Tykes members on outings to Inverness to go swimming, ice skating, bowling or enjoy other leisure pursuits.

The group, which supports around 58 young carers aged up to 18, with the youngest member only about six years old, also plans to organise short respite breaks throughout 2007.

Mrs Clark said: ?We?re absolutely delighted that our application to YouthLink Scotland was successful. Up until now we?ve been using our own cars to take our youngsters out, but that is not entirely satisfactory as we usually have to take more than one car and it is also very expensive.?

She said the link with Ness Motors had been made when the firm took a table at a black-tie fundraising ball that Tykes held in Dunrobin Castle, Golspie, last October.

?They took a corporate table and during the course of the evening we spoke to them about our hopes of getting transport through YouthLink. They told us that if the funding came through they would give us a good deal on a vehicle. They have been very supportive.?

She praised Ness Motors for not only giving a huge discount on the price of the black people carrier but also equipping it with a first aid kit, fire extinguishers, two fluorescent jackets and the booster seats required for youngsters under a certain height.

Another Inverness firm, Acorn Signs, painted the side of the new car with the group?s name and logo free of charge. The firm previously painted the windows, also free of charge, of the Tykes office in the Sutherland Estate building in Duke Street, Golspie.

Enough money was left from the grant award to pay for the vehicle?s insurance and running costs for the first year.

Mrs Clark added: ?Everyone has been very supportive. People are becoming more aware that we are here and of the work we do. The project is going from strength to strength.


Northern Times

Royal award for Magi
Published:  17 November, 2006

An East Sutherland woman who works for an organisation that supports young carers has won a prestigious award from the Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

Magi Mackenzie, a support worker with Golspie-based Tykes (The Young Karers East Sutherland) received the award from the Princess Royal herself at a ceremony in Glasgow this week.

The award has been made in recognition of an innovative text messaging service introduced by Magi to provide support for young carers. Messages are sent to a dedicated help line.

Director of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Elaine McGonigle, said: ?Magi is always available for the children and nothing is ever too much trouble for her. She is a credit to the young carer movement.?

Magi told the NT: ?I?m really pleased to have won it, but it?s very definitely an award for the whole project. I couldn?t have done it if I wasn?t so well supported.?

All content copyright 2007 Scottish Provincial Press Ltd.