Young carers are young people aged 18 years and under who look after a family member or friend due to their illness, disability or health condition. It is the type of care normally provided by an adult so young carers may not even realise they are young carers.
Some of the ways young people care for someone are:
• staying in the house a lot to be there for them
• helping them to get up, get washed or dressed, or go to the toilet
• doing lots of the household chores like shopping, cleaning and cooking
• looking after younger brothers and sisters
• providing emotional support or a shoulder to cry on
If you think you are a young carer and could benefit from extra support you can speak to
• a teacher
• your GP (doctor)
• a youth worker
• any other professional who works with your family
• or log on to the websites provided below
You can also contact DAZU (www.dazu-charity.co.uk), who run the young carers project in Enfield, and Enfield Carers Centre (www.enfieldcarers.org), who support young carers between 16 and 18 years as they move towards becoming a ‘young adult carer’. Enfield Carers Centre also has a designated young adult carers service for carers who are between 18 and 25 years old.
The following is a list of just some of those organisations that offer support in one form or another to young carers:
Barnardo’s runs 20 services across the UK which work to support young carers and their families in a variety of ways. Visit Barnardo’s for more information.
Carers Trust helps almost 30,000 young carers and young adult carers (up to the age of 24) to cope with their caring role through specialised services across the UK http://www.carers.org
The Children’s Society helps young carers by making sure they can have breaks from their responsibilities and by giving young carers a platform to share their experiences and raise awareness about the issues they face www.childrenssociety.org.uk/
This National Health Service website also contains information for young carers. Visit NHS for more information.