As a teacher I worked with many children. Children that had stories or histories that would make grown adults weep. I have always been drawn to the pastoral side of teaching and caring. When I did my degree I also volunteered to work with some children who were at risk. Prior to qualifying as a teacher I also did youth work. Plus I worked with young people who were at risk of exclusion. I was always more interested in the pastoral as opposed to the pure academic route. This is why I lend my voice to When I Grow Up… Young Carers Awareness Day 2017.
I have always respected Young Carers who take on more than most children. It is true they don’t choose to be young carers, they find themselves in the role by circumstance. Many parents feel guilt that their child has the role or burden of caring for a family member. Last year I spoke on a panel for Young Carers Day. I was so inspired by the young people I met. Whilst they often work so hard to balance caring and their education, new research informs us that young carers are life chances are still be affected.
Young carers across the UK are in danger of not getting the most out of their education or fulfilling their life ambition because they are caring for a family member, a new Carers Trust survey reveals. More than half (53%) of the young adult carers surveyed were having problems coping with school work and nearly 60% say they are struggling to meet deadlines. A third said they have to skip school most weeks.
This new data has been released today (26 January 2017) to mark the annual Young Carers Awareness Day, organised by Carers Trust, the UK’s largest charity for unpaid carers. This year’s theme is “When I Grow Up” and focuses on the dreams and ambitions of young carers and how difficult it can be for them to achieve them.
A worrying picture is emerging, revealing the extent to which their caring role is severely affecting their future choices.
A female young adult carer commented:
“I wanted to be like everyone else and go to university, but I suffered a breakdown, and only achieved the lowest grade in my degree. I couldn’t go far from my parents as I had responsibilities and their lives really went to s**t with me not being there to run the house. I haven’t gone back to live there as it is too hoarded and it is no good for my mental health but their struggle is far greater now which brings me a lot of guilt”.
Today’s theme is When I Grow Up.. What did you want to be when you grow up? I always wanted to work with children and vulnerable young people. I did that for 12 years and now I write which was another ambition. However I make sure I use my bit of the internet to talk about what matters. Young carers matter. I am also having these conversations with Chloe now who is 17. Luckily for Chloe she has plenty of options she is not limited by anything but it reinforces just how opportunity limiting being a carer really is.
Today is an awareness day but every day children are caring. You can help, you can make a difference and improve a young carers outcome.
How can you support and get involved in Young Carers Awareness Day?
- Visit carers.org/young-carers-awareness-day-2017 for more details
- Text to give – Text YCAD17 £3 to 70070 to donate to Carers Trust. Make a difference today to support vital services for young carers.
For more Information
Visit carers.org for details of local services, professional support for those working with children and young people and Carers Trust’s specialist online communities for young carers at babble.carers.org and at matter.carers.org for young adults.