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Do not let funding cuts affect services for young carers

Note: Danni Manzi, guest blogger this week, is young carers’ lead at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Chair of the National Young Carers Coalition.

Young carers are hitting the headlines today. The BBC has found that 700,000 young people identified themselves as young carers – four times as many as the last set of official statistics.

Young carer helping his brother

We’re urging local and national governments not to cut funding to services that support young carers

The 2001 census identified 175,000 young carers which we always knew was a vast underestimation. It asked parents to complete the survey on behalf of their child – many either don’t recognise the caring role their child has, or they don’t want to disclose it for fear of intervention from services. Also the census only asked about physical disability, it didn’t refer to mental health, substance misuse or HIV/AIDS so it missed out on a significant number of young people that provide care for parents in these situations.

The new BBC figures are just a start. In our experience, we know just how hard it is for young carers to recognise themselves as such and to come forward for the help they need. So it’s very likely that there are many more young carers than the 700,000 identified by the BBC, especially when there is stigma (perceived or real) surrounding the condition of the person they care for.

It’s important that young carers feel able to come forward and tell people they are carers. Schools have a vital part to play in the identification and support of young carers. Social care does too. Often just a small amount of help, put into place early enough, can really reduce the caring a young person does and help them to cope. But our worry is that with cuts in funding, services will be less able to support young carers and their families; it’s likely that now, only when a caring role has caused damage to a young carer’s health and well-being, will services be able to help.

We’re urging local and national governments to not cut funding to services that support young carers, including funding for dedicated young carers’ services that do so much for so many young carers across the UK.

At The Trust, we work really hard every day to raise awareness of young carers needs’. Sometimes it feels like we’re getting nowhere and then out of the blue we’re handed a golden ticket. Today might just be one of those days.

Let’s hope that everybody is listening!

Danni Manzi

Further info:

Young carers can find online support on www.youngcarers.net

If you are working with young carers you can access info and resources on http://professionals.carers.org/young-carers

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November 16, 2010 - Posted by | Big Society, Education, Uncategorized, Young carers | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. What can be done to help unpaid carers? This applies
    Identify all Adult & Young Carers at GP Surgeries & hospitals.
    Carers do not have an equal opportunity at GP surgeries as they are private businesses . No one is monitoring GP’s outcomes.
    For example GP’s are currently paid to identify Carers in their practice, most have not.
    With their future role how can we ensure that Carers are identified and provided with information of where to find support when they need it & prevent damage to their own health. Until this is issue is resolved carers young & adult will remain hidden.

    Comment by Daphne Sanderson | November 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. The measure of any society is found in the way it treats its youngest and vulnerable. When i started caring 23 years ago there was very little help.
    AND TODAY
    the CONDEM goverment is relegating to the sidelines and attacking those who are least able to defend themselves.

    I DO NOT SEE ANY GOVERMENT MINISTER OR MP GIVING UP ANYTHING SUBSTANTIAL TO HELP THE DISABLED AND CHILD AND ADULT CARERS

    I say this again to the vast army of unpaid carers out there
    REMEMBER WHAT THIS CONDEM GOVERMENT AND
    CONDEM THEM
    TO THE POLITICAL WILDERNESS AT THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION.

    Comment by Taras Kurylak | November 17, 2010 | Reply


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