Campaigning is easy (when you have help!)
I’ve had this feeling lately that campaigning is really easy but then I’m getting a lot of help. I have had young adult carers creating campaigns and then I do the easy bit of getting the message out there to all the lovely people in contact with Carers Trust.
A young adult carer got in contact about her student group’s campaign for UCAS to change their application form. That way carers can identify themselves using a tick box. Carers Trust is getting the message out there and collecting signatures for the group’s petition.
A question on the application form asking if you were a carer and a tick box to answer would make it so much easier for young adult carers to tell universities that they are a carer. It sends a message that carers are a group that universities want to hear from and that they have something to offer those students who are carers. At the moment it makes it seem that universities do not want to be told. In fact many universities want to know because they can offer extra support.
A second way that it would make a difference is by solving a problem facing lots of universities. They are not able to find out which students are carers or they only find out when the student carer has spent time struggling needlessly. Carers Trust research found that half of young adult carers report that they are struggling with their studies because of their caring role. Without the right information and support young adult carers are four times more likely to drop out of university.
In summary the reason this needs to happen is so that many more student carers will be identified and will get support. It is a change that both carers and universities want. UCAS can make a small change that would make a big difference for the 375,000 young adult carers in the UK and student carers in general.
So back to my point about campaigning being an even better thing to do when you have the help of other people. Supporting this campaign from student carers has meant I was inspired by their great ideas, enthusiasm and the courage to put their name to something that matters.
It also has another meaning too. Carers Trust reaches out to carers through a network of brilliant and valued local services. We have links with universities. We have been speaking with student unions and NUS who are championing student carers. Together we can amplify the voices of the young adult carers and student carers that started this campaign. Isn’t campaigning great!
Please sign the petition here: http://bit.ly/1V5TRjD
Chloe Alexander is Policy & Campaigns Officer (Young Carers & Young Adult Carers) at Carers Trust.
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