A young carer is a child or young person (aged from 5 to 25) whose life is affected by caring for at least one family member, over and above just 'helping out'. This could include caring for:
- Close relative(s)
There are many children and young people who help to care for a parent, brother or sister or other relative, who is disabled, has an illness, mental health problem or experiences drug or alcohol related issues. The Wiltshire handbook for carers Wiltshire handbook for carers 1mb was launched during Carers Week in June 2013 and was published in partnership by Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group. It contains useful information for carers and is available free from your GP surgery or library. Alternatively you can contact the carers programme lead at Wiltshire Council on 01225 712716.
If you are a young carer, your own health and development may be affected because of your caring responsibilities. As well as daily tasks you may have to complete like housework, cooking and bathing, you may live with the added pressure of school and, often, a lack of understanding from schoolmates. You may not get the chance to go out with your friends or do your homework. The physical and emotional strain is sometimes too much – maybe you skip school and you might worry a lot about your home situation.
As a young carer you have the same rights as other carers under the NHS and Community Care Act 1990. You may even be considered as a 'child in need' under the Children Act (1989). This depends on whether we at Wiltshire's Children and Families department considers that your role as a carer prevents you from achieving or maintaining a reasonable standard of social opportunities and achieving full school attendance.
Estimates of the number of young carers in the UK vary between 15,000 and 50,000. The number of young carers in Wiltshire is estimated to be 1800 (Princess Royal Trust research).
Spurgeons Young Carers in Wiltshire
Services for young carers in Wiltshire is provided by Spurgeons, the national children’s charity.
If you (or someone you know):
- Have significant caring responsibilities for a family member
- Live in Wiltshire or are at school in Wiltshire
- Are aged between 5 and 18 years
You can access the following young carer’s services:
- 1 to 1 mentoring, peer support and help to access activities in your local community.
- Breaks and activities which give you a break from your caring role, and a chance to meet with other children and young people in the same situatio. This includes activities and sessions during school holidays, trips and away days and regular term time groups which run across Wiltshire.
- Specialist professional counselling, bereavement counselling, and support with issues such as self-esteem, confidence, assertiveness, bullying, anxiety and stress.
- Transition support.
- When you are moving from primary to secondary school.
- For young people moving from secondary school and their next steps into further education, employment or training – this might include training sessions and opportunities to support you to improve life skills and gain qualifications.
- For young people aged between 15-25 years to access adult carer support services
- Advocacy so that your views are heard and respected by the adults that are making decisions about you.
Spurgeons will also give you advice on the phone, and tell you about other agencies which may be able to help you.
Spurgeons is committed to making sure that young carers have a real say in the service they receive and to making sure they are best placed to provide services in the way that you need. They want to make sure every young carer and adult young carer who needs support is able to access the service and that needs are not missed.
Any professional who works with a young carer in Wiltshire can make a referral for assessment and services to Spurgeons Young Carers in Wiltshire. Referrals should be made using the SARF (Specific Agency Referral Form) which can be found on the Wiltshire Pathways web site.
Spurgeons will also accept self referrals from parents and carers by phone. They will complete the SARF on behalf of the parent / carer during the initial phone call. The parent / carer will then be asked to sign the completed form during the first home visit.
If you would like to speak to Spurgeons about the new service, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01225 701820.
- Carers Trust
- Children’s Society - Young Carers Initiative
- Young Carers Net
- Young Minds
- National Youth Agency
- Youth Action Wiltshire
Last updated: 18 July 2013