Who is caring for the young carers?

Posted by / Friday 09 June 2017 / Young Carers
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Children and young people who have to care for someone often have to deal with responsibilities way above others their age.

Young carers have to do a lot of adult things such as cooking dinner every day for the whole family.

If they didn’t do it, no one would eat. That's a lot of responsibility for a child of 8 years old.

Growing up with this kind of responsibility can be isolating and young carers shouldn’t have to deal with it all on their own. 

Rhian Bennett, who is a support officer for Young Carers, gives us an insight into what life can be like for a young carer.


Missing out on parties 

A high percentage of young carers are bullied at school. They often find they’re not able to talk about their care roles with their friends at school.

Friends at school don’t understand if they can’t come out at weekends, or go to parties or, go out after school. There isn’t that understanding there for other children and young people because they don’t have to deal with the same level of responsibility.

We work with a lot of young carers who are late for school because they might have been up all night caring for someone or they might have had to take their brother and sister to school in the morning first.

They might struggle to get homework in on time and can be often tired because of their many extra responsibilities.

By coming to a young carers group, the young carers are able to meet other people in the same situation as them. These groups mean that once every 3 weeks, young carers get a break. It might be the only time they get away from their care role but they’re with people who understand exactly what they’re going through.

One of my young carers rings me every now and then when he needs to moan about his mum.

He says things like "I’m not able to do that with my friends. If I moan they think I’m being horrible because my mum has a disability, but I just need to have someone who understands what I’m going through."

Having that support from other people their own age, going through the same thing, as well as having professionals you can talk to who understand the situation has a massive impact on the young people’s mental health.

"I’m not able to do that with my friends. If I moan they think I’m being horrible because my mum has a disability, but I just need to have someone who understands what I’m going through"

Young Carer
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Not alone

Without having the young carer support available, a lot of young carers wouldn't be able to go into further education or they might drop out of school altogether.

Often young carers struggle more in school and may come out with lower grades because so much of their time is dedicated to caring. They might get into trouble at school or they might be being bullied.

Without the support groups they might not have any time away from their care roles at all.


What the support means to them

Our support is tailored to each young carer we work with . If they need emotional support we do 121 peer mentor group. We help with training in confidence building, helping with social skills and their self-esteem.

We also help financially and can provide grants for families. If a young carer needs a new appliance like a washing machine, or they need new school uniform, or if they just needs some time away from their care role, we help apply for funding for them.

These incredible young people go above and beyond every day and services like this give them the support they need. Being a young carer shouldn’t mean you don’t get the same chance in life as everyone else.

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"I suffered with my own mental health for years - now I'm speaking up"

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