*This didn’t happen….but it could. According to The Carers Trust there are estimated to be at least 376, 000 young carers aged 16-25 in the UK. This is enough to fill Wembley Stadium (capacity 90,000) four times.

We call them young carers, but you might know them as John, Katya, Khadija, Elliot and Becky. This is because young carers don’t look, or sound, or behave a certain way. Young carers are young people and they deserve access to the fulfilled life that all young people deserve.

Some stats about Young Carers across the UK from The Carers Trust (www.carers.org/key-facts-about-carers-and-people-they-care)

  • 68% of young carers are bullied in schools.
  • Young carers responding to a survey missed or cut short many school days every year. The average was 48 school days missed or cut short because of their caring role.
  • Young adult carers aged between 16 and 18 years are twice as likely to be not in education, employment, or training (NEET).
  • Based on Census figures there are estimated to be at least 376,000 young adult carers in the UK aged 16–25.
  • Many services are only funded to work with young carers up to the age of 18. In a survey, 79% of young carers said they were worried about moving on as they felt there was no support for them

In Oxfordshire young carers can access specialist social work teams and for those that live in southern Oxfordshire the amazing team at Be Free Young Carers (www.befreeyc.org.uk) can provide much needed support.

The Importance of integrating young carers

I believe that specialist services can be a lifeline to young carers giving them a space to meet with others going through similar challenges, but it is also crucial that young carers are able to access ‘mainstream’ or ‘open-access’ youth services that brings the Johns, Katyas, Khadijas, Elliots and Beckys into contact with other young people to have fun and make friends.

How would you make your space or setting welcoming and accessible to young carers?

Over the next few months we are going to be working with a handful of young carers, and the specialist social work team at the county council, to develop some resources that will help you make your club a welcoming, safe and fun place for young carers to come. For now think about the answer to this question: what do you already have in place at your sessions to support young carers?

For more resources and help with how to respond to the needs of young carers subscribe to our monthly email ‘Sector Insider’ e-newsletter.