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Would more awareness help improve support for young carers?

10th - 17th March 2023

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Total votes


5-11 votes


11-16+ votes

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.

young child

Age 5-11

"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.”


Age 11-16

“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 adult

Age 16+

“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.”

77% of those aged 5-7 said they can spot when others need help.

  • Our youngest voters were considering whether they recognise the signs of when someone needs help.
  • They also discussed whether it is always possible to tell when someone is in need.
  • The majority of voters said 'Yes', however almost a quarter voted 'No'.
82% of those aged 7-11 believe we should learn more about what young carers do.

  • Our voters aged 7-11 were looking at young carers more specifically and considering whether we should learn more about what they do.
  • The majority said 'Yes' and said that they were shocked about how many young carers there were in the UK.
87% of those aged 11 and above said more awareness would help improve support for young carers.

  • All of our voters aged 11+ were considering the question: "Would more awareness help improve support for young carers?"
  • The majority voted 'Yes' and this sentiment was reflected in the comments that we received.
  • Similarly to our 7-11 age bracket, voters seemed concerned by the number of young carers in the UK and the responsibility on their shoulders.
Action was mentioned repeatedly in voter comments as being an essential part of building awareness.

  • A common theme in the comments was that of action and its relationship to raising awareness.
  • Many voters stressed that raising awareness is only beneficial if it leads to action and, more specifically, government support.
5-7 vote had a majority of 77.1% Yes. 7-11 vote had a majority of 81.6% Yes. 11-16 had a majority of 86.4% Yes. 16+ had a majority of 88.6% Yes.

Feedback from our Impact Partners

This week the children's voices were heard by a number of organisations across the charity and care sector. This includes the Carers Trust and Spurgeons who responded to what young people have said.

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.