Care for the Carers, a local charity supporting unpaid carers, is speaking up for the 21,000 Young Carers in East Sussex on Young Carers Action Day.
Young Carers Action Day took place on 15th March, and is an annual event organised by Carers Trust with its 124-strong network of local carers organisations across the UK. The day aims to raise awareness of the constant challenges and pressures faced by young carers and young adult carers– children and young people who look after someone who couldn’t do without their help, such as a parent, grandparent, sibling or friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.
The theme for this year’s Young Carers Action Day, chosen by young carers and young adult carers, is Make Time for Young Carers. Carers Trust survey results released this month show 51% of young carers and young adult carers in the UK are caring for between 20 and 49 hours a week. The care they provide is also intensifying, with 56% saying the time they spent caring increased in the last year and 47% reporting they now care for more people than they used to.
These hours spent caring on top of daily schoolwork and revision for exams can have a real impact on children’s health and wellbeing, often leaving them feeling overwhelmed. 44% of young carers said they ‘always’ or ‘usually’ feel stressed. But young carers say this doesn’t have to be the case and there are some key things that would leave them feeling healthier and happier.
Most of all, young carers need adults to make more time for them. They need professionals and responsible adults to listen to them about the challenges they face and then spend time putting the support they need in place.
One young carer, supported by Care for the Carers, said that in his old school they had a special young carers club run by staff. “It helped when I couldn’t cope and I could talk about what was wrong.” Another young carer said they didn’t know if there were any other young carers in school but would “really like to know so we can support each other.” An idea from the young carers was that it would be helpful to get a time out pass for when they were really stressed. School “could be a bit more understanding, I don’t want to always be in trouble.”
Jennifer Twist, Chief Executive at Care for the Carers says, “Young carers tell us how much they value the clubs, activities and support our service provides, but it’s clear that there is much more to do to provide the thousands of young carers in East Sussex and across the UK with the support they need. Care for the Carers is joining the Young Carers Alliance, calling on the government to take urgent action, to introduce measures ensuring Young Carers are recognised and supported across government.”
“Our Young Carers Service is for all young carers aged 5 to 17 years, living, attending school or caring for someone in East Sussex. We run monthly Young Carers Clubs, free holiday activities, and we help young carers access services and activities. We also have a Young Adult Carer Service for carers aged between 17 and 25. Please get in touch with us if you know a young carer who needs support, or are a young carer yourself.”
For more information on Young Carers Action Day 2023, please visit: www.cftc.org.uk/ycad23