Time to support young carers

January 30 2017

A carer is anyone who helps look after someone in their family or a friend. They could be ill, disabled, have mental health problems or be misusing drugs or alcohol.

young carer

A carer is anyone who helps look after someone in their family or a friend. They could be ill, disabled, have mental health problems or be misusing drugs or alcohol. 

Bristol and South Gloucestershire charity, Carers Support Centre, provides specialist support to carers, including children aged eight to 18. This includes one-to-one and family support, carers’ groups, respite activities, short breaks and training.

Carers Support Centre works with 32 local schools through its Young Carers in Education programme. To mark the national Young Carers Awareness Day on January 26, Carers Support Centre has worked with young carers to make a short film, available on YouTube which is being sent to local primary and secondary schools in the area, including those in Bishopston and Redland. The film aims to raise awareness amongst teachers and pupils, and has been part funded by Carers Trust.

In the film, young carer Ellie says: “Even though we spend a lot of our time in our caring roles and doing something a lot of people don’t do, we still have ambitions. We still have dreams we want to accomplish in the next couple of years or in the future.”

 Clayton, from Southmead, is 14 years old and he cares for his brother who has a developmental delay and learning difficulties. In the film he says: “I want to be a doctor and a street dancer!

“My mum is always helping people. She’s a nurse and at the moment my mum has injured her back and her leg. I want to be able to be one of those people that can stop that from happening and then maybe one day actually maybe be able to heal her.”

There are likely to be young carers in every school and college, but many remain unidentified. 

In a Carers Trust survey, 39 per cent said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role.

Keith Sinclair, Chief Executive of Carers Support Centre, said:“Young carers miss out on their childhood. They can often become isolated due to caring duties, missing out on playing, seeing friends and other leisure activities. They can often miss lessons and as a result, can struggle to keep up with school work and not achieve their potential. They can also suffer from bullying at school.”

“Many young carers have no choice but to look after parents and other family members, and many take on this responsibility without a second thought. It is crucial that young carers get the support and help they so desperately need.”

Peer support from other people who understand can help many carers feel less alone. Carers Support Centre provides opportunities for carers in Bristol to get together. To find out more contact CarersLine 0117 965 2200 or see www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk. 

Picture courtesy of Carers Trust