Time to be heard for young adult carers

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI’m James Dadge and I’m the Policy and Campaigns Intern at Carers Trust. For the past few weeks I’ve been working with the young carers’ policy team and we’ve been out and about gathering the views of carers on the barriers they experience in education and employment.

Last Thursday we visited Nottingham University, who were holding an open day specifically for young carers and we finished off the week in the sunshine at the Young Carers Festival in Southampton.

First of all thank you to everyone who came and spoke to us at our stand. There was so much enthusiasm from carers wanting to engage and share their experiences. The Voice Zone at the Young Carers Festival was alive with activity and carers were bursting with opinions on each and every issue, which was excellent.

Events such as these provide a really important opportunity for carers to meet with peers facing the same issues and collectively make their voice heard. We were delighted to be there. Across the two days we had the chance to meet and listen to more than 160 young and young adult carers.

More than a third of the young carers we spoke to wanted more support from their teachers, reiterating the huge importance of consistent identification and support in schools. A young carer we spoke to said that teachers should “understand how hard being a young carer is and give me more support with homework”. Research by Carers Trust in 2010, found that 39% of young carers said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role.

At the Nottingham University Young Carers event we asked young carers what might make it more difficult for them to go to college or university. 30% of young carers said that they felt that the biggest barrier would be finances. One young carer said: “My family is always having trouble with money and it’s always tight, so I know that it’s an important issue.”

We know that 14-25 year olds have really big decisions to make such as choosing A-Levels or college courses, moving out of home, getting a job or going to university. These big choices can be incredibly stressful for any young person to navigate let alone if you have caring responsibilities at home. Their responsibilities helping someone else mean that their own life choices are side lined consequently, there often isn’t time to learn about the opportunities open to them.

This has been a fantastic first step for our Time to be Heard campaign, a campaign we are delivering in partnership with The Co-operative to improve the support available within schools, colleges, universities, employment and communities for 14 -25 year olds. The Partnership intends to achieve real change by engaging with young adult carers to provide opportunities for them to use their voice.

We are also still seeking the views of young adult carers through our online survey. If you can, please take the time to share this link with any services that support young adult carers so we learn more about the issues they face and what support will help. I am really looking forward to engaging with more young carers through my time on the campaign, as it’s crucial that their views are heard by policy-makers.

July 8, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized, Young carers | ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hi James and Moira,

    my name is Martina Coccia.
    I am doing a PhD research for Edinburgh University around young carers mental health and resilience.
    Part of my project will involve interviewing teenager carers aged 16-18 years old. The idea is to find out more about how do they live this important transition moment in which they are also called to take important decisions for their future.
    I went to the Scottish young carers festival (my research is Scottish based) and I found it amazing.
    Is your campaign project UK based or is it for England only?
    I really think it’s a great idea to support and reach those young carers who are entering college or employment because they are at a real risk of falling through the network of services which may be available to them.


    Comment by mcoccia2013 | August 9, 2013 | Reply

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