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Young Carers Awareness Day

  • 28/01/2016
  • Author:bridgetmccall

Are you a young carer or do you know someone who is? Find out what help is available to young carers through charitable funds and charities.

Two girls smiling

Today is Young Carers Awareness Day - a national day of recognition for the 700,000 (1) young carers in the UK who provide care and support to family and friends.

Carers are an important aspect of Turn2us's work and we are marking this important day by highlighting the needs of young carers and the help that may be available to them through charitable funds. In our separate news article, you can read about how Jada, who cares for her mother Maya, was helped with a grant from the Fashion & Textiles Children's Trust.

Who is a young carer?

Young carers are usually defined as children and young people (usually under 18 years, although some organisations extend the age range to under 25) who provide unpaid care to a family member – such as a parent, grandparent or sibling - who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances. They may do this with other family members although many will be the sole carer doing all or most of the work unsupported.

Key statistics about young carers (2)

  • 13,000 of the UK’s young carers care for over 50 hours a week 
  • Following a survey in 2010, the BBC estimated that there are 700,000 young carers in the UK
  • Young adult carers aged between 16 and 18 years are twice as likely to be not in education, employment, or training (NEET)
  • In total there are 290,369 carers in the UK who are aged 16–24.

Why is raising their needs important?

Most young carers love the person they are caring for and want to help them. While the responsibilities involved in being a young carer can have positive effects on a young person’s personal development, being a young carer can have an enormous impact on their physical, emotional, financial and social wellbeing.

Although services are available to help them, sometimes young carers and their families are afraid to let themselves be known to social services, benefits departments or charities offering help to young carers, because they are afraid they may be separated if they do so. Often they also are unaware of what is available to help them and where to go for help.

Help from charitable funds

Financially, things are often very tight for the families of young carers but a little known fact is that help might be available to help them and their parents through charitable grants.

This might be from:

  • A charitable fund attached to an occupation that the person being cared for has/had - for instance, the Fashion & Textiles Children's Trust
  • Charities that help people affected by a particular health condition and their families - for example, for young carers of people with multiple sclerosis, the MS Society has particular services including a grants scheme
  • Charities that help carers - such as the Carers' Trust grants scheme to help carers with their caring role
  • A charity that provides holidays for families on low incomes who are living in difficult circumstances
  • An educational fund that helps children from families on low incomes with educational costs – to pay for school trips or outings, equipment, school uniforms, music or sports activities that a young carer's family might be unable to afford
  • A fund that specifically helps children in need
  • A local fund that helps people in need in a local area.

You can use the Turn2us Grants Search to find possible charitable funds that might be able to help you, based on your background, circumstances and needs.

Carers Trust and young carers

Carers Trust is a national carers charity. It provides resources and support for young carers, including:

It also has resources for professionals working with young carers, such as service providers, teachers and other school staff.

Other charities that work with young carers

References

1 and 2.    Carers Trust website information on young carers (accessed January 2016)

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