Young carers are children who help look after a member of the family who is sick, disabled, has mental health problems, or is misusing drugs or alcohol. A Young Carer is a person under the age of 18 who has enhanced caring responsibilities, such as taking the lead role in cooking, cleaning, getting their siblings ready for school, missing school to care for someone, not having time to themselves and similar acts like that. The average age of a young carer is 12 years old, with some children being as young as four years old caring for a loved one.
There are approximately 244,000 young carers across Britain, with 13,000 caring for more than 50 hours per week. A recent study published this month on the gov.gg website has found that 57% of parents reported that their child was providing emotional support for them. It is important to remember that caring doesn’t just mean physical caring, but medically, emotionally and financially too. For example: administering medication, conducting the weekly shop, being in constant worry about a loved one, supporting other people in the household in any way they can and more.
A lot of young carers don’t realise that they fall into this category because caring becomes part of daily routine that often doesn’t get questioned. It can sometimes be difficult for young carers to accept that they are in fact carers for many reasons; perhaps the sensitive nature of their loved one’s needs prevents them from reaching out for support, or they may feel like if they admit that they are young carers then they will be separated from their loved ones, many different reasons.
The impact on young people who are carers can be detrimental in many ways: being neglectful of their own needs by prioritising others, deterioration in their own emotional and mental health, missing out on their childhood and social exclusion. It is vital that us as a community recognise when a young carer needs support and know where to turn for this. At The HUB we are developing inclusion groups that include young carers. We are hoping to provide young carers with a safe place to be included to relieve them of their caring responsibilities by having fun, making friends, emotionally supporting, helping with shopping trips, allowing time to themselves by movie nights and so on.
If you would like any further information or would like to signpost a young person to access some support please contact The HUB on 724 421 or email us on thehub.gg