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Young Carers Awareness Day

Written by Jos on 30th January, 2020

Young Carers Awareness Day raises awareness of the challenges faced by young carers and campaigns for greater support for them.

There are currently 800,000 11-18-year-olds in England who give up their time to care for someone they live with (BBC, 2018). And the average age of a young carer in the UK is 12 years.

Last year 37 per cent of the UK’s young carers reported that they felt “stressed”, because they are caring for someone and 32 per cent feel “worried” (YouGov, 2019). Sadly, for many young carers life at school can also be tough, with 68 per cent of young carers bullied at school (Princess Royal Trust for Carers, 2010a).

What schools can do to support young carers?

Schools play a fundamental role in supporting young carers wellbeing. Below are some tips and ideas schools can try.

  • Create a safe environment where young people feel like they can share their situation. Tootoot can help with this, as the app provides a safe and confidential way for pupils to send a message to a designated mentor in the school, at a time when they feel the most comfortable.
  • Reducing obstacles to education, by allowing more flexibility with deadlines, set times when pupils can access their phones and offering homework clubs in school time.
  • Raise awareness in school about the issues young carers face by celebrating Carers Week from the 8th – 14th June or Young Carers Day on the 30th January.
  • Set-up a buddy or peer mentoring system, as some young people may prefer to get support from peers who are also carers.
  • Take part in the #CountMeIn campaign. The campaign aims to proactively identify young carers and ensure that they receive the recognition and support they deserve. Request a free campaign pack from the Carers Trust, which includes teaching materials and poster packs. 
  • Help them access support. There are different organisations and services that young carers may not be aware of. Below is a list of some of the available support.

Organisations and charities that support young carers

Spurgeons offer a wide range of services to support young carers, from mentoring and educational support to activities and trips away to give them much needed time out from their caring duties.

They work in partnership with other agencies to support young carers individually and within their families in a range of ways:

  • Time out through groups, trips and activities
  • Information, advice and practical help for the family
  • Educational, training and homework support
  • One-to-one tailored support
  • Transition support
  • Mentoring support

KIDS run regular clubs where young carers can safely talk about how they feel, meet other young carers, get support, advice and information as well as have some fun away from their caring responsibilities. They also provide holiday activities and occasional weekends away.

Action for Children provides regular breaks, access to fun activities and opportunities to meet other young people in the same circumstances. Most importantly, they provide relief from responsibilities for a while to allow carers to enjoy being a child.

Services include:

  • Individual support for young carers on a one-to-one basis (and for parents if required)
  • Needs assessment of young carers and their family
  • Opportunities for young people to meet other young carers
  • Opportunities for young people to join in planned groups and activities
  • Signposting to other services if necessary, for young carers and/or parents
  • Advocacy work
  • Monthly parents' drop-in
  • Family outings
  • Outings for young carers
  • Help for young carers to access adult services on turning 18
  • Awareness-raising
  • Work with schools
  • Multi-agency working

Childline is a great service for any young carers who are finding things difficult or need some advice or information. Young carers can call Childline confidentially about anything they want, whenever they want.

Call Childline for free on 0800 1111

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