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Young Carers Have Hopes and Dreams too #YoungCarersAwarenessDay

Published: Saturday, 28th January 2017

Young Carers Have Hopes and Dreams too #YoungCarersAwarenessDay


Dear Carers, Friends and Colleagues

Yesterday was national #YoungCarersAwarenessDay, a day in which we, as Sutton’s Young Carers Service, can grasp the opportunity to once again highlight the challenges Children & Young People with caring roles face in their daily lives.  It’s an opportunity for Young Carers to say what it is that they want local professionals and colleagues to hear and understand.  It is a time for Young Carers to think about what makes them most proud about their caring roles but also what dreams and aspirations they may have for the future #whenigrowup.

This is their message to you:

“Young Carers have hopes and dreams for their future but will often forego these to prioritise the needs of the person they care for”.  

We know this to be true both from a local perspective (from our direct work with Young Carers) but also from national research which tells us:

  • Young Carers miss or cut short an average 48 school days a year
  • Almost half of Young Carers are struggling to get their homework done on time
  • 80% of Young Carers are missing out on childhood activities
  • Almost half of Young Carers are reporting stress, tiredness or mental health problems

But please remember that not all caring is ‘bad’. Some Young Carers crucially need our protection but many are likely to be very proud of their caring contributions. They need to be safeguarded from inappropriate caring roles (those roles that should be undertaken by Adult Carers or professional Care-workers), but most are looking for empathy, not sympathy; support, not pity; understanding, respect and encouragement, not someone to criticise their family life.

In our most recent Young Carers Newsletter, one of our Young Carers, Bethany Smith, shares her experiences of trying to balance her education and caring role.  Beth speaks candidly about the impact on her mental health and highlights that many Young Carers feel they have to make a choice between education/future aspirations and caring.  She also is very proud of how she helps care for her mum who has MS and has shared how this helped bolster her self-esteem when things got tough. Please click here to read more!

This week, the government released their updated report on the impact of caring on Children and Young People which highlights the ongoing need for identification, recognition and assessment of young carers’ needs plus how key early intervention is to enable young carers to participate more fully in social and educational life AND prevent long-term educational and health consequences.

Additionally, here is a national report on Young Carers’ Mental Health, which, alongside Beth, included expert government roundtable input from Sutton Young and Young Adult Carers: Laura Allen and her peers Heather Grover and Natalia Polniaszek

So, my friends, there is still much work to do to protect Young Carers from the negative impacts of caring and to enable them to fulfil their hopes and dreams - but it requires a multi-professional and multi-agency approach. We also believe that it is crucial that support is delivered in community settings, with experienced, specialist leadership from charities such as our own working alongside schools, GPs as well as Social Services. Please see another recent report:

Here’s what you can do:

  • Continue to work with us to identify Young Carers – if you need refresher training for staff or for Young People, please contact us to discuss
  • Keep updated with Young Carers’ issues, support services and events by following us on Twitter @suttoncarers or via our websites and
  • Stay connected nationally to Carers Trust @carerstrust or via their website which has lots of information for professionals: as well as information regarding online communities of support for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers
  • Encourage everyone to support your local Sutton Young Carers Service – volunteer your time, your expertise or fundraise with us for Young Carers and their families.
  • Share your good work with us so it can celebrated, we can learn from you, and we can build the local and national evidence-base of what works best for Young Carers and their families.

This is also a time for us to thank our partners who have so generously supported Young Carers over the last 12 months.

Many thanks to our partners at Riverside Community Association who have been very busy raising Young Carers awareness with us all week at their Time Out Youth Sessions.

We have been so generously supported by London Borough Sutton, Big Lottery Fund, Carers TrustCheam Rotary Club, Carshalton Rotary Club, FreeKicks Foundation, the Linus Project, Create Arts, MouseTrap Theatre Project, Salvation Army, Sutton Met Police, St John the Baptist Church, Sutton Asda, Coop and Sainsbury’s and many private donors and fundraisers. Your generosity enables us to continue provide support and time out for Young Carers to reduce the impact of caring and give them space to realise their hopes and dreams.

If you would like to find out further information, or get more involved, please contact the Young Carers Team on the details below. Please also pass this on to spread the word!

Kind regards,
Young Carers Team - Sutton Carers Centre (Carers Trust Network Partner)
Tel: 020 8296 5611 | Fax: 020 8296 5616
Sutton Carers Centre | Benhill House, 1st Floor | 12-14 Benhill Avenue | Sutton | Surrey | SM1 4DA
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Sutton Carers' Centre is a Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable Status. Registered in England, Company Number 3353573 and Charity Number 1062302.