Life Chances for Young Carers are under threat
There are some really worrying statistics being released today about young carers. More than half (53%) of the young adult carers surveyed were having problems coping with school work and nearly 60% say they are struggling to meet deadlines. A third said they have to skip school most weeks. Young people are suffering a range of set-backs in pursuing their goals, with 82% of young adult carers reporting stress and 73% saying they have to take precious time off school and learning specifically to care for a family member.
I was a Young Carer
This is an issue that is personal to me. Back in 1993 my mum died leaving my dad behind. I took on all of her caring responsibilities in the house, and she did everything. For the next two years whilst studying for my A-levels I was keeping the house clean, did the grocery shopping, washed all the clothes, did the ironing, cooked dinner every night for my dad. Not the usual hobbies of a 16/17-year-old girl.
I remember walking around Tesco’s with my shopping list and calculator as I only had a certain amount of money to get the shopping for the house, so I couldn’t go over that amount by a penny. Dinner was a constant routine, I remember cooking bolognase with boiled potatoes as my dad wouldn’t eat pasta. I remember cooking ham, egg and chips trying to maintain normality after my mum had died. Its bizarre the things that stick in your mind after more than 20 years.
It was really difficult trying to fit everything into my life from the chores, to studying to work and to my social life. My studying did suffer. I didn’t get the grades I was predicted to get and plans for my intended university had to change. I was lucky to still have the opportunity to still go to university as many young carers don’t.
A female young adult carer commented:
“I wanted to be like everyone else and go to university, but I suffered a breakdown, and only achieved the lowest grade in my degree. I couldn’t go far from my parents as I had responsibilities and their lives really went to s**t with me not being there to run the house. I haven’t gone back to live there as it is too hoarded and it is no good for my mental health but their struggle is far greater now which brings me a lot of guilt”.
Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, said:
“Our new survey data paints a very worrying picture for the hundreds of thousands of young carers across the UK, if the right support and guidance isn’t in place.
“We must make sure young carers get the support they need so they can enjoy their childhoods like any other young person and achieve their ambitions. On Young Carers Awareness Day, Carers Trust wants to reach hidden young carers up and down the UK, who desperately need our help.”
How can you support and get involved in Young Carers Awareness Day?
- Visit carers.org/young-carers-awareness-day-2017 for more details
- Text to give – Text YCAD17 £3 to 70070 to donate to Carers Trust and make a difference today to support vital services for young carers.
- Dress-up as your dream job character and donate a pound – school pupils, teachers, colleagues and friends are being asked to dress-up on Carers Trust’s Young Carers Awareness Day. Be it an astronaut, doctor, rock star, ballerina – join the fun and donate £2 – helping Carers Trust to help young carers to get support to fulfil their potential, career aspirations and dreams.
My wonderful fellow blogger, co-author and friend Emma Bradley has also written about Young Carers, read her post here.