Young Carers Awareness Day 2020

Today marks Young Carers Awareness Day, an annual event led by Carers Trust. This day is committed to raising awareness of the challenges faced by thousands of young people in the UK who help to look after a family member. 

The Children’s Society defines a young carer as ‘a child or young person under 18 who provides regular ongoing care and emotional support to a family member who has a physical or mental illness, disability or misuses substances.’ 

Recent research shows that 1 in 5 secondary school children may be a young carer. A young carer will often have more responsibilities at home which may include helping someone get out of bed in the morning, assisting with getting dressed, looking after other family members and siblings, helping with the housework and cooking meals. With having so many responsibilities, a young person could potentially find it difficult to finish homework in the evenings or complete revision in exam period. A young carer may be late to school or have poor attendance. Whilst in school they may possibly feel overwhelmed due to tiredness and stress which can influence their concentration and engagement in class. 

The Count Me In! campaign is focusing on both education providers and the government to do more proactively, identify young carers in schools and ensure they achieve their potential in education. Materials for teachers and other professionals have been created and can be accessed online. You can download posters to help support young carers, handouts on how to get involved in the Count Me In! campaign and leaflets with stats about young carers to help raise awareness of who they are and what they do. 

If you are a young carer there are many organisations that can help you. There are currently young carers projects around the UK which are run by various organisations. We have selected the main organisations based in Kent: 

1) Crossroads Care Kent 

The Oast, Orwell Place 170 Tonbridge Road, Wateringbury, ME18 5NS 

2) Carers First Medway 

Michael Gill Building, Tolgate Lane, Strood, Rochester, ME2 4TG

3) Ashford Young Carers Support Age 16-25 

Norman House, Beaver Business Park, Beaver Road, Ashford TN23 7SH 

Mental health and wellbeing of a young carer may be affected in various ways therefore it is important to understand what support is available.  The Children’s Society have provided invaluable resources and tools including a booklet titled ‘Looking after myself’. This resource recognises the pressures young carers face and enables them to develop strategies for coping. 

It is common for young carers to manage money and this can be very difficult and daunting. The Children’s Society have created a hub with advice and information on choosing bank accounts, budgeting and moving into your first home. You can find lots of information on knowing your rights which make young carers aware on human rights, legal rights and the rights to access things like benefits, support and advice.  

If you’d like to find out more about supporting mental wellbeing to young people, read Promoting Mental Wellbeing to Young People.  


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