New service started in schools to help young carers

August 24 2017

SCHOOLS in South Gloucestershire are being urged to sign up to a new service that makes it easier to identify and support young carers.

SCHOOLS in South Gloucestershire are being urged to sign up to a new service that makes it easier to identify and support young carers.

There are a number of young people under the age of 18 who help look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled, has mental health issues or misuses drugs or alcohol.

Young Carers in Schools has just been launched in South Gloucestershire and Bristol by local charity Carers Support Centre and already nearly 40 schools have become involved.

The charity said many young carers were unidentified and its aim was for every local school to become a member so no-one missed out on the support that was available for them.

It said there were likely to be young carers in every school and college but a survey revealed that more than a third of those with a caring role said no-one in their school was aware of their responsibilities. 

 Often the child didn’t realise the help they gave was regarded as caring or their family feared that when the child’s caring role came to light, public services would intervene and they would be separated.  

Keith Sinclair, chief executive of Carers Support Centre, said: “Young carers often miss out on their childhood.

“They can often become isolated due to caring duties, missing out on playing, seeing friends and other leisure activities.

“They can often miss lessons and as a result, can struggle to keep up with school work and not achieve their full potential. They can also suffer from bullying at school because they are seen as being different.”  

 He said young carers sometimes experienced physical problems due to heavy lifting, poor nutrition and lack of sleep, as well as suffering from stress, anxiety and low confidence and self-esteem.   

Mr Sinclair said: “Many young carers have no choice but to look after parents and other family members and many take on this responsibility without a second thought.”

 More information is available online at www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk and there is also a carers’ phone line on 0117 965 2200.