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It doesn’t take long to imagine what it would be like to be a young carer. Instead of drawing and colouring they are cooking meals and washing clothes. On top of the stress of friendships there is also managing medications for an ill parent.
Some things that may not have crossed your mind. There are over 800,000 young carers in the UK between the age of 5-17.
Over one third of young carers say that no one at school knows that they are taking care of a member of their family. And over a quarter of them between the ages of 11 and 15 miss school because of their responsibilities.
It can seem a very bleak picture but the recognition for the work they do is growing.
To mark Young Carers Action Day on 15th March, voters took a closer look at the role of young carers and the day-to-day responsibilities that are a reality for so many. Voters heard real-life stories from children and young people that look after loved ones and reflected on the four key actions for which young carers are campaigning.
"I think we should learn more about carers because then we can understand how they feel and help them. It would help us understand what they are experiencing and going through.”
“Awareness is the first step to improving support for young carers. Normalising their roles and making sure everybody is aware of the challenges they face will give them more confidence.”
“Young carers should have more support from the government. You can't separate awareness from actions - as much as awareness is needed, it should be tied with action as a response. Young carers
should have more financial support, support in school, support at home and support in wellbeing & counselling.”
Adem Ruggiero-Cakir, Young Carers Project Officer at the Carers Trust said
“Thank you so much to everyone that participated in Votes for Schools’ discussion last week on young carers as part of Young Carers Action Day. It’s really striking to see the demand to learn more about what young carers do and for more awareness of young carers. We recognise that awareness needs to result in support too, this is what we heard clearly from young carers and young adult carers in our survey.
That’s why we are calling on the Government to make sure that there is a Young Carers Lead in every school, college and university to ensure young carers are identified and receive support in order to enjoy and thrive in education”
Angie Jones, Young Carers Service Lead for Birmingham and Wolverhampton at Spurgeons, sent in the video below.