Some carers are children or young people who are caring for a parent or family friend as well as going to school - we call them 'Young Carers'. Coping with these extra responsibilities can be very hard for children and young people.
Young carers are young people between the ages of 5 and 18 who do a number of tasks within a family because a family member is ill or has a disability. They are often left alone to do things like washing, cooking, shopping, dressing and much more. They may give medicines, take care of household budgets and look after younger sisters and brothers. Sometimes young carers are unable to go out with their friends, go to school, or go to clubs because they are helping to care for someone at home.
- The average age of a young carer is 12
- There are slightly more female young carers than male
- 50% of young carers live with one parent
- 75% of young carers look after their mothers
- 48% of young carers look after someone with mental health difficulties
The Young Carers Support Service in West Berkshire is run by the Castlegate Outreach Team. They have a Young Carers Coordinator who supports young people who care for someone at home. Through the service young carers are able to make contact with other youngsters in the same situation. The Young Carers Coordinator provides support in a one to one situation or in a group. As well as this, the young carer has access to information, training and enjoyable leisure activities. There are youth groups for both junior and secondary school age.
Other activities have included young carer festivals, discos, karaoke competitions, bowling, ice skating, cinema, etc.
Referrals to the Young Carers Support Service can be made in a variety of ways:
- A young person themselves can contact the Castlegate Outreach Team directly
- Initial contact can be made through a family member or friend
- A referral can also be made through a GP, Care Manager or other professional