7 September 2012
Somerset Young Carers Project

Young Carers

 

Young carers are children and young people who look after someone in their family who has an illness, a disability, or is affected by mental ill-health or substance misuse.

 

Young carers often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. The tasks undertaken can vary according to the nature of the illness or disability, the level and frequency of need for care and the structure of the family as a whole

 

Supporting Young Carers in School

 

School staff are often unaware that a young person cares for someone at home, so being a young carer can be a hidden cause of poor attendance, under achievement and bullying, with many young carers dropping out of school or achieving no qualifications. There are some simple and inexpensive steps that all schools can take in order to ensure that young carers have the opportunity to achieve in school without compromising their caring responsibilities. The last census found 175,000 young carers in the UK. Local research has suggested there may be up to 30 young carers in a secondary school.

 

Somerset Young Carers Project offers a range of support and advice for young carers including advocacy, support groups, respite and activities. They can also support schools who want to meet the needs of the young carers in their school community by providing:

  • Local data on numbers of young carers in their school
  • Awareness raising assemblies and staff training
  • Help to establish a Young Carers Champion within the school staff
  • Assist schools to develop a programme of support for a young carers that allows them to feel heard and valued within the school community. This could include, offering a regular drop-in session for young carers, developing a range of strategies to help young carers complete homework and attend school regularly, mechanisms for helping them to keep in touch with a parent during the school day and enable them to have voice within the school.

For further details of support for young carers in school contact:

Jo Sylvester – Project Team Leader (Somerset Coast) –

Dave Willis - Project Team Leader (Mendip and South Somerset)