Young Carers Awareness Day was held on the 28th January 2016 and is a national day of recognition for the 700,000 young carers in the UK who work around the clock providing care and support to family and friends. The Carers Trust are launching a campaign to show how young carers are missing out on school, their social life and other activities because of their caring role.
Young Carers are children or young people under 18, who care for someone who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, learning difficulties, sensory impairment, HIV/AIDS or substance misuse. There are an estimated 700,000 young carers in the United Kingdom. Young Carers may experience isolation, difficulties coping at home, problems at school, lack of social experiences and often need information and advice on the illness or disabilities their parents or grand parents suffer from.
Carers in Bedfordshire is a charity which helps family and former carers of all ages to cope with the emotional and physical stresses arising from their caring role. They offer support such as emotional and practical, information advice and advocacy, training, help to develop strategies for dealing with difficulties and improving health and well-being. They also run fun clubs, residential activities and young carers’ breaks. They believe in the positive benefit of Young Carers meeting as many share common experiences. They can also gain peer support while having great fun!
Young Carer, Katie Craven and Carers in Bedfordshire’s Shelley Hobbs ice skating at Frosts Garden Centre, Willington as part of the Christmas events run for young carers.
Sophie Smith (17) is a young carer for her mum who has had heart and mobility problems for the past 8 years. She says the hardest thing about being a young carer is having to watch her mum suffer in pain and that it can be stressful managing lots of things. But she also says the best thing is, “being able to put a smile on her mum’s face and knowing I am making her happy.”
Carers in Bedfordshire’s support worker, Debbie Corey has helped Sophie with various aspects of her caring role such as managing things at home, ways to release stress, having a break from caring and has helped her with her progress through college. Sophie is now studying Level 3 Business Studies at Bedford College and wants to go to university to study Family Law.
Holly Powells, (17), is a young sibling carer for her younger brother who is 5 yrs old, has developmental delays and some autistic features. Holly is involved in the Peer Mentoring Scheme being run by Carers in Bedfordshire’s Shelley Hobbs.
Peer Mentoring is where young carers provide 1:1 support/chats/advice to other young carers in the same or similar situations. Sometimes children find it easier to talk to peers than to adults and at the same time they see they are not the only person their age having these issues. Holly has been peer mentoring for a year and her role involves talking privately to sibling carers about anything they are worried about or want to talk about. She says, “It is nice for them to talk to someone who understands and it has helped me to see that I am not alone too. I love helping others and it has helped me gain skills in social work which is something I want to do in the future.”
Mentors attend clubs in Kempston, Biggleswade and Dunstable and Shelley is working with 15 schools across Bedfordshire with 25 mentors. Shelley says, “This ever increasing project is growing fast and we have received great feedback from young carers particularly that they feel much better once they have talked to them.”
Young Carer and Peer Mentor, Holly Powells and Carers in Bedfordshire’s Shelley Hobbs talking about the Peer Mentor scheme at the charity’s recent AGM.
Press Release Date: January 2016