What is a Young Carer?
A Young Carer is a person under the age of 18 who helps look after a family member or a friend who is mentally or physically ill, disabled, or has a substance misuse problem (for example drugs or alcohol).
Young carers often have responsibilities which adults have, and may have to clean, provide emotional support, help with finances, help give someone medication, look after siblings or do the shopping – these are just some examples of what they may do.
A recent BBC poll estimates there are around 800,000 young carers age 11-15 in England.
In Trafford, the 2011 census identified approximately 3,500 young carers under the age of 17.
Many young carers do not realise that they are a young carer, perhaps because they began caring at a young age and so have got used to it: “Many young carers do not realise that they are in a caring role, they just see themselves as ‘helping out’” say the Trafford Carers Centre
- A young carer may be bullied for many different reasons, such as being different from other people. Bullying is not ok, and you should talk to your school about it.
- A young carer may miss out on opportunities to learn or partake in other activities which other children can enjoy.
- They may have to miss days of school: according to Young Minds, on average, young carers miss 48 days of school because of their role.
- They may have less free time than most children and young people, which means they may not be able to meet or play with friends as often.
- They may feel as if other people do not understand their role and may feel that they have nobody to talk to – but lots of people are out there to help.
Young carers can be worried about many different things:
- Schoolwork, exams and what they want to do in the future
- Looking after siblings or others who the person they care for may not be able to look after
- Emotional abuse from the person they are caring for
- Feeling as if they have no choice but to care for that person
- That they cannot go out and meet friends
- Money and financial difficulty
- Worrying whether the person they care for is ok, when they are not around
Young carers may not ask for help for the following reasons:
- They may be afraid that they would letting the family down if they told people they were struggling
- They may be afraid of the family or themselves being taken into care
- They may feel like people won’t understand
- They may not know that there is support available to help them
If you are a young carer, it is ok to ask for help. Lots of different people and organisations want to help you because you have a right to be looked after too.
To get help, young carers can:
- Talk to their family
- Talk to someone else close to them, such as a GP, social worker, counsellor, teacher or friend
- It can be especially useful to talk to a teacher they trust if the young carer is, for example, struggling to get their schoolwork in on time or is often late. Though they may still face disciplinary action, the school is often more sympathetic with them and give them helpful allowances such as letting them use their phone at break or lunch to check on whoever they care for
- Contact Trafford Carers Centre or the other places listed below – they’re here to help! Here are some things the carers centre can help you with:
Young Carer’s Assessment
This is something which a young carer and their family can choose to have which will help decide what support they need. In Trafford, the Young Carers Assessment is carried out by the Young Carers project workers at Trafford Carers Centre [www.traffordcarerscentre.org.uk]. If you are caring for someone who lives outside of Trafford, you will need to contact the local authority that that person lives in. To summarise, a Carers Assessment is done by whichever local authority the cared-for pays their council tax to.
Examples of things the young carers assessment will look at:
- What you do in your caring role.
- What difficulties you may have and how your role affects you.
- Whether you wish to continue caring and if it is appropriate for you to continue caring.
- Whether the care you are providing is appropriate, or whether you have inappropriate caring responsibilities.
- The educational and leisure activities which you wish to participate in.
Young carer referral:
Anyone can refer a young person to Trafford Carers Centre, including the young person themselves.
However referrals can come from lots of different people and services such as a parent, teacher or someone else who might work closely with a family, such as a GP or social worker, using their website (please use the following link): http://www.traffordcarerscentre.org.uk/young-carers/young-carer-referral/) or by phoning their centre on 0161 848 2400.
If you are 16 or over and not in full-time education, you may be entitled to this. It is money which is paid to you if you meet certain criteria. Trafford Carers Centre has their own dedicated Benefits Advisor who can help anyone who is registered with us. For more information about this, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance
Where Can You Get Help?
- Trafford Carers Centre – Trafford Carers Centre is a charity that supports unpaid carers who are caring for someone living in Trafford.
The Young Carers Project supports individuals aged between 5 and 25. After this time, the carer will be transferred over to the mainstream adult carers provision, so they can continue to get support if they need it. The centre carries out carer’s assessments, offers advice and information and can make referrals to other services for further support e.g. counselling. They also provide social opportunities for young carers to have time out from their caring role and to meet other carers, such as fun activities during school holidays and evening groups during term time. The activity times can change depending on what is happening, but once registered individuals will be kept up to date, usually by text message.
At the moment, the evening groups meet every month on a Wednesday evening from 5.30pm to 7.30pm at the centre’s headquarters in Sale.
- Young carers in years 7, 8 or 9 meet on the second to last Wednesday of the month
- Young carers in years 10, 11, 12 and 13 meet on the last Wednesday.
They are trying to set up a group for young adults at the moment. If you would like to help set this up or have ideas please call the number below. Please visit the Trafford Carers Facebook or Twitter pages for further information about where and when they meet. To register as a young carer to access support and join in the groups and activities contact Jules or Shay on the number below.
Phone number: 0161 848 2400. This is their ‘Carers Helpline’ which is open from 10.00am to 4.00pm from Monday to Friday and until 8pm on Wednesdays.
Address: Trafford Carers Centre, First Floor, 19B School Road, Sale, M33 7XX
The office is open from 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
Used this service? Tell Healthwatch Trafford about it here.
- NHS (National Health Service) – The NHS website has lots of useful information on being a young carer and how you can get help:
NHS website – being a young carer: www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support/young-carers-rights/
NHS website – help for young carers: www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/support-and-benefits-for-carers/help-for-young-carers/
- Childline -Support for anyone under 19 in the UK with any issues they are going through. Counsellors are all trained staff and volunteers who wish to help the youth, available any time on web chats or on the phone.
1-2-1 chat from:
7.30am -10.30pm – Monday to Friday
9am – 10:30pm – Saturday to Sunday
call 0800 1111 for free from:
7.30am – 3.30am – Monday to Friday
9am – 3.30am – Saturday to Sunday
Call their national helpline on 0800 1111 or check out their website for advice at www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/home-families/family-relationships/young-carers/
Used this service? Tell Healthwatch Trafford about it here.
- Carers Trust – The Carers Trust is a national charity which aims to ensure the role and contribution of unpaid carers is recognised and that carers have access to the quality support and services they need to live their own lives. Visit their website at carers.org/about-caring/about-young-carers
- The Children’s Society – The Children’s Society are a national charity working with young people to counsel and support them through their life challenges. Every summer they partner with YMCA Fairthorne Group to host the largest festival in the world for young people with a caring responsibility at home. Their website has lots of information about your rights as a young carer and helping you understand the law: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/youngcarer/home