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What is a Young Carer?

Are you a Young Carer?

A young carer is someone  who helps care for someone within their family. That person may be a parent, sibling, grandparent or other relative affected by:

Are you under 18?

Do you help to care for someone at home who has an illness, disability or is not able to look after themselves? This might be your mum, dad, brother, sister or another relative.

Do you help in a way that an adult would normally do, such as with washing, cooking, helping them get dressed?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, you are a young carer.

Some things that young carers do

  • Lots of extra housework, cooking or shopping
  • Help someone to wash or dress
  • Look after a brother or sister with physical or learning disabilities
  • Support a parent or family member who has a drugs or alcohol problem
  • Help a family member to take their medication
  • Provide support to a family member with a mental health illness
  • Constantly keep an eye on your family member who needs your help.

All of this is a lot for a young person to cope with on top of school work and trying to spend time with your friends. But don’t worry, help is at hand. At Spurgeons we work with lots of young carers like you and we are here to support and help you.

Top tips from other young carers

Spurgeons has been helping young carers like you for a long time. Some of our young carers have put together their top tips for you.

How to cope with school pressures

The Problem:

Balancing your caring role with school and homework can be hard as a young carer. You might find you struggle to get your homework done or handed in on time or you might have other difficulties at school. This might get you in trouble or detention.

What to do:

Tell your teacher about your caring role. It might be a hard thing to do but they are there to help you. They will be able to ease the pressure on homework or uniform issues. But if they don’t know, they can’t help you! Some schools have a dedicated teacher or other member of staff who can help young carers. They might even know other young carers who you can talk to.

Tell your parents as well. They might not realise you are having difficulty and will understand that you need some time for school work.

How to deal with bullies

The Problem:

Unfortunately, young people aren’t always kind to each other and they might pick on or be mean to anyone who appears different, such as a young carer.

What to do:

Tell people you are being bullied – your teacher, friends and other family members or support workers. Your teachers have a duty to look after you and make sure you are safe at school.

Build up a circle of support around you, among people you trust. These people can help you feel less alone and they will help you feel confident and proud of the help you are giving as a young carer.

How to find time for yourself

The Problem:

You are doing so many different things, trying to squeeze in time for homework and also worrying about the person you care for, all of which mean you don’t get any time for yourself or to spend with friends.

What to do:

Talk to the person you help about needing some downtime. It could be an hour with your friends or just sometime catching up on reading, watching TV or doing something else you enjoy. Talking to people will make you feel a lot better.

Find a young carers support group – talking to or spending time with other young carers can be a big help. They understand what you’re going through and can off their advice. You can find your nearest young carers group at www.carers.org

Would you like to donate to Spurgeons?

Spurgeons runs a number of support services and interventions to help improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families and give them a more hope-filled future.

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