Working in education? Youth Settings? Know people that do?
Things for you to do during Carers Week
Often when we think of carers we think of adults but of the 7million plus carers in the UK it is estimated at least 700,000 of them are young people. Young people aged 17 and under, (in Salford the youngest we have worked with recently is 5), young people doing all aspects of care normally carried out by an adult. Some young people carrying out personal care, some doing high levels of domestic care, some offering emotional support that many of us as adults would struggle with, some young people doing all three aspects and caring for more than one person.
Often we see young carers as sibling carers, supporting the rest of the family caring for someone, but as important as these young people are we also work with young people whio are living on their own with the person they care for, and some young people who care for more than one person.
This level of care affects the development of the young people, it affects their education and their ability sometime to achieve to their full potential, it affects their health, both physical and mental, it also affects their ability to develop relationships with peers and leaves them open to bullying.
Many of these young people are hidden, unsupported and frightened that if people find out the level of caring they are involved in that they will be removed from home. They are ashamed, embarrassed and also scared they will be bullied due to the reasons they are a carer.
The week of June 8th 13th is a week to celebrate carers and the contributions they are making to their communities so I am asking you not only to celebrate the carers you know but pledge to find the carers you do not know.
BBC research in 2010 estimated that in a high school of 1,000 pupils there were 80 young carers-how many do you know in your school?
It also highlighted that there were at least 10,000 young carers aged between 5 & 7 attending primary schools in the UK. How many do you know?
So please next week do one of the following;
1. On Monday morning stand in front of your school/class and look at your pupils-are any carers? Do you know if any of them live with people who are disabled, ill, have addiction problems or have mental health problems? How many of them may be carers? Do you know the answer to any of these questions?
2. Find out where the local Young Carers Service is. Contact them
3. If you are in a senior /management position think about what your school does to support young carers, can it do more? Can it raise awareness of the issues with all pupils? Does it have a policy? Are pupils aware of any support available? See what's missing and put a plan together
Just simple actions in finding out about your pupils and researching the support available will increase not only your knowledge but the numbers of young carers identified within your settings and therefore the number of vulnerable young people getting support.
The Children’s Society and Carers Trust are running a national award for schools around the support for young carers in schools and more information can be found at www.carerstrust.co.uk
If you have not got a local young Carers Services and want to discuss the issues further please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I am always more than happy to talk about developing young carer friendly schools and improving the identification of the hidden carers we all pass by each day.