What is a Young Carer?
You’ve probably heard the title Young Carer but what does it mean?
A young carer is a child or young person under the age of 18, who provides care to another family member who has a disability, chronic illness, mental illness, a sensory disability or a problematic use of alcohol or drugs.
The level of care they provide would usually be undertaken by an adult. As a result of this, it has a significant impact on their childhood. The care can be practical, physical and emotional support.
If this sounds like what you are doing, then you could possibly be a young carer too. You might have started caring from a young age without realising it. Being a young carer at times can be a tough job. You probably won’t have as much free time as your friends because of the extra things you have to do at home.
You may feel worried about the person you look after, even when you’re not with them. You may feel a bit different from other kids of your age, or you may be worried about being bullied. These are very normal feelings and emotions.
If you think you may be a young carer or if you think someone you know could be, then please contact us.
Who does what?
It is possible that there may already be various professionals supporting you and your family. It can be quite confusing and perhaps scary, when trying to work out what each person is doing to help you.
Here is some information which may help explain their roles:
Young Carers’ Support Worker
Following a referral to our charity, a Support Worker will contact your parent or guardian and arrange to carry out an assessment of your needs as a young carer. This may be done in the home or within school, depending on the circumstances. Using the information gathered during this assessment they will arrange any support available to you. They will also review your needs over time and will be a point of contact for you.
Young Carers’ Volunteers
Volunteers are an integral part of our charity and they are simply fantastic! There are volunteers who help run the young carers’ after school groups, cook your meals and arrange your activities. Volunteers also provide valuable support to young carers by offering their time and a listening ear, not just in the groups, but also on a 1:1 basis via our befriending scheme. Volunteers are also your ‘taxi service’ and provide transport to and from our support groups and activities.
Doctors, Hospitals & School Nurses
Some young carers, even at an early age, make regular trips to the GP, hospital and chemist, perhaps to collect prescriptions or accompany the person they care for.
Make sure that your GP is aware that you are a young carer. Your GP surgery should be able to provide you with a young carers registration card to complete. All information between a doctor and patient is confidential. This means they can not share with anyone what you have told them, except if a patient is a risk to themself or to another person. GPs, Hospital Workers and School Nurses are able to refer to our services too.
Teachers & other people who work in schools
Since the introduction of the Children & Families Act 2014, every member of staff in your school or college is required to be ‘Young Carer Aware’ and with our help, they are there to listen to you and support you.
Maybe you are having difficulty getting to school on time or meeting your homework deadlines. Maybe you are having problems with friendship groups or bullying. If this is the case, it is important that someone knows so that they can help you. Teachers and pastoral teams are able to refer to our services or seek advice from us and the earlier they know about things that may be worrying you, the better.
Don’t be afraid to tell someone you are a young carer!
A social worker is the person who can organise extra help for the person you care for, perhaps through a Community Care Assessment. They can also help your relative claim benefits they may be entitled to or signpost them to other support services – they are also there to help reduce stressful situations at home. People are sometimes worried about telling the social worker that their children are carers, but be assured that they will work with your whole family, to make sure that the caring role you have within your family is understood and respected. They should also be able to advise you on how you can have a Carer’s Assessment in your own right, if this is something you feel you need.
Mental Health Workers
If the person you care for is suffering from anxiety or depression or maybe has been in hospital for a mental health related illness, they could be getting support from the mental health side of the NHS. If this is the case, it could involve visits from mental health social workers, nurses and other members of the team. We are here to help you understand their roles and to provide you with any additional support should you need it, so don’t be afraid to ask them and us questions.
Young Carers need caring for too!
Everyone has rights and the young people who attend Wigan & Leigh Young Carers say,
We have the right…
– to be children as well as carers.
– to schools and colleges that give us the help we need to get an education.
– to have fun, friends and time off from caring.
– to family life with well-supported parents.
– to practical help and support so that we don’t have to do all of the caring in our homes.
– to a safe environment and protection from harm, including any harm that caring activities could cause us.
– to services that value our different backgrounds, cultures, religions, races and sexualities.
– to be listened to and supported by the people who support our parents and siblings.
– to an assessment of what we need as individuals, without any assumptions being made about us.
– to be listened to and involved when people make decisions which affect our lives.
– to information about the health problems that we see our family members experiencing.
– to advocacy and complaints procedures which we can understand and which work.
– to stop taking on caring roles when we wish to.
– to move on and become independent adults.
How do we support you?
Our charity is here to support you in many different ways. We are here to help and to listen to your needs as a young person, not just a carer.
Following an assessment by a Young Carer’s Support Worker we may be able to offer you the following support:
- Ongoing Support & Advice
- Weekly Peer Support Groups
- Transition Support
- Befriending Support
- Access to Counselling
- Access to Family Mediation
- Training Opportunties
- Cook Club
- Relax Kids – self esteem and mindfullness
- One off activities and trips
- Respite for the whole family in our holiday lodge
There may be occasions where we have waiting lists for our groups or activities, due to high demand for our services. However, we will endeavour to support you from the beginning of your registration with Wigan & Leigh Young Carers Charity.
Make sure you speak to your parents or guardian about accessing our services. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Fore more information contact us.