Bridging the gaps for young adult carers

Young carers and MPs at the launch of the of the National Young Carers Coalition

The Government announced £1million for young carers services yesterday

The voluntary sector is known for leading the way in partnership working and that was in evidence at the launch of the National Young Carers Coalition (NYCC), yesterday.

Hosted by Sir George Young, the event brought coalition partners, young carers and young adult carers, support workers and MPs together to celebrate the many achievements for young carers in recent years.

What have we got to celebrate?

The 2008 Carers Strategy has a dedicated chapter on young carers. The “Think Family” strategy and Extended Family Pathfinders focus strongly on young carers and their families. All steps in the right direction.

Then there’s the £1million funding announced at yesterday’s event to help young carers services look more at the needs of the whole family when supporting young carers.

But we can’t rest on our laurels.

There’s still lots to be done. Families, particularly where there is mental health illness or substance misuse, are still reluctant to approach services for help because of the stigma attached to these illnesses and because they worry that their children may be taken into care.

Gaps in children’s and adults’ services mean that too many families are still going unsupported and young carers continue to find themselves in inappropriate caring roles.

Another challenge for services and professionals supporting carers – and for the NYCC to address – is the 290,000 young adult carers aged 16-24 in the UK.

Professor Saul Becker talked yesterday about research that highlights how many of these young adult carers fear the loss of support when they turn 18.

Progress in education, employment and training can be seriously hindered by a life with caring responsibilities and this age group are particularly affected by the challenges of trying to balance caring whilst carving out a life of their own.

And this throws partnership working back into the spotlight.

Adult’s and children’s services need to think about how they are going to work together to make sure young adult carers don’t get left out on a limb when they turn 18.

The words of one young adult carer who spoke yesterday ring in my ears today: “Just because I’m 18, it doesn’t mean I stop caring… so services shouldn’t either”.

Rest assured that this message was heard loud and clear yesterday and is another thing The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and its coalition partners has on its “To Do” list.

Take care,


Danni Manzi is Young Carers Lead at The Princess Royal Trust for Young Carers and Chair of the National Young Carers Coalition (NYCC)


November 27, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized, Young carers | , , , ,


  1. Taken from the annual report of P R T C.

    The 2001 Census indicated that there are 175,000 young carers aged under the age of 18 in the
    UK today. A poll commissioned by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in 2004, however indicates
    that the number of young carers could in fact be much higher;
    Over 13,000 young carers care for over 50 hours per week;
    Young carers may look after relatives with a range of issues, including mental or physical illness,
    disability or alcohol or substance misuse;
    The average age of a young carer is 12;
    The lives of young carers are in some way restricted because of the need to take responsibility for
    the care of a person;
    Almost one-third of young carers have educational difficulties. Many young carers miss days off
    school to care for someone. Some leave school with no qualifications and most experience
    bullying and isolation from their peers.

    Comment by webglynne | December 14, 2009 | Reply

  2. In December 2008, we launched the results of new research, which we commissioned from the University
    of Nottingham to provide an insight into the lives of the 290,000 young adult carers between 16-24 years
    in the UK. The report, ‘Young Adult Carers in the UK: Experiences, Needs and Services for Carers aged
    16-24’, shows that although many of these young adults show great commitment to their caring role, it
    can compromise their ability to succeed in life and deprives them of the opportunities enjoyed by their
    peers. Lack of information relating to a range of subjects including adult carers’ services, career
    opportunities and further education, together with gaps in service provision, were all contributory factors.


    So they say but refuse to reply to a plea to abolish child carers.

    Comment by webglynne | December 14, 2009 | Reply

  3. Does this explain why?

    Given the poor economic climate that prevailed during 2008/09 and the problems in recruiting a Director of Fundraising, our fundraising performance during the year exceeded our expectations. We retained
    good relations with key major donors and corporate donors and had a successful campaign to raise funds from individual donors for Young Carers.


    What a damning indictment for a charity that it would rather have child slaves and contributions for them than campaign to abolish child carers.

    Comment by webglynne | December 14, 2009 | Reply

  4. Thank you for your comments. The Trust is not campaigning to abolish young carers purely because the majority of young carers in our network tell us that they don’t want to stop caring, they just want to be able to choose the level of care they provide and have the same educational, personal and social opportunities as other young people of the same age.

    We are working closely with central government, our coalition partners and others to ensure that inappropriate caring situations (where the young carer is doing too much or where the young carer is undertaking tasks that they would not choose to do) are reduced for young carers across the country and in the UK as a whole.

    The £1m funding from the Department for Children, Schools and Families which The Trust is managing in partnership with the National Young Carers Coalition is focused purely on supporting young carers services to reduce inappropriate caring roles for young carers and making sure that the whole family is supported, not just the young carer, or the person they care for, in isolation. Our Comic Relief grants programmes has worked on a very similar basis.

    Our policy work repeatedly stresses the same key messages: young carers want, and should be able, to choose what they will and won’t do for the person needing care; adult’s services need to play a more significant part in supporting the adult with the care needs; children’s services need to recognise and support young carers to have the same life chances as those young people who aren’t young carers.


    Comment by Danni | December 14, 2009 | Reply

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