Young Carers feeling the pressure during latest lockdown
There are around 800,000 young carers in Britain – children under the age of 18 who help look after a loved one with a physical or mental disability or illness. Often this involves carrying out household chores to assist with caring responsibilities or actually helping to look after a vulnerable parent or sibling.
Before the pandemic,m young carers were already at a disadvantage compared to their peers. According to the Carers Trust, more than one in four young carers miss school or experience education difficulties, and have significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level (the difference between 9 C grades and 9 D grades).
The National Young Carers Voice survey for ITV News found:
- 67% of young carers reported their mental health had declined in this latest lockdown
- 57% of young carers reported they had fewer breaks from caring this lockdown
- 58% of young carers said they felt more isolated this lockdown than previous.
- 57% of young carers felt their education has suffered because of lockdown
The survey interviewed 75 young carers, one of whom said:
“It feels like a constant cycle of caring for people… I’m having to help my family with things as well as do lessons and my focus isn’t there because I’m worrying about what’s going on around me.”
“I feel that going to school and having that time away from our caring responsibilities, just for a few hours, is a massive part of our day and suddenly we’ve had that taken away and we can’t do that.”
Listen to how young carer 10-year-old Oliver has been affected by lockdown and 17-year-old Thomas who provides care to both of his parents.
Support for young carers and young adult carers in Birmingham
The re-opening of schools next week (8th March 2021) will go some way to help young carers but what other support is available?
Aquarius and YMCA Sutton Coldfield were awarded funding from Forward Carers to deliver support to young carers in Birmingham. Aquarius Action Projects prepare and deliver weekly meal kits for Young Carers (aged 10 and above) and their families. The kits come with recipe cards, nutritional advice and Young Carers will have access to pre-recorded cook-along videos.
Young Carers will be welcomed into a community of other Young Carers who are looking to build on their cooking skills. As Coronavirus restrictions reduce, Young Carers will be invited to some face to face cookery classes and a celebration event.
Freshly prepared food and healthy ingredients are so important to physical and mental health. Having these meal kits to hand will eliminate any dinner time stress and improve family relationships by preparing and enjoying a meal together. It will build on existing skills and confidence as well as providing an opportunity for fun!
For more information contact email@example.com
or firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete this referral form and questionnaire outlining any allergies, dietary requirements and food preferences.
YMCA Sutton Coldfield offers free support to young Carers aged 14 to 18 years old, providing care to a family member in Birmingham. Young people around the country take on regular or ongoing support for a parent or a sibling with a physical or mental illness, a disability, or who is struggling with substance misuse. This is a huge responsibility bringing feelings of anxiety, stress, reducing the time for socialisation and recreation and increasing feelings of loneliness and isolation. Through additional funding, YMCA Sutton Coldfield can now offer extra support to Young Carers aged 14 to 18, in addition to the help currently provided.
Teenagers who are in a caring role in Birmingham can benefit from a weekly afternoon session each Saturday. Over the space of three hours, Young Carers can attend a café session and get involved with activities such as comic book art or cooking etc. They can also take part in activities (bowling, cinema) and school holiday trips. If transport is an issue, a drop off and pick up service can be provided. YMCA Sutton Coldfield hopes that this support will make Young Carers feel less isolated, improve their mental health and emotional wellbeing as well as giving them a much needed break from their caring role.
Transitioning Support for Young Adult Carers
YMCA Sutton Coldfield will host a variety of Bi-monthly workshops that focus on individual topics for discussion and debate identified by young carers themselves. The sessions are for those who are about to transition into Young Adult Carers services. There will be a special session on 16 March at 5pm for an hour to mark Young Carers Action Day. To find out more click here.