Cornwall Council urges young carers to get help and support

Half of Cornwall’s young carers looking after family members with medical conditions and disabilities, are not getting the help and support available to them.

As part of Carers Rights Day (30 November 2018) Cornwall Council is encouraging more young carers to access support services as there are an estimated 4,000 young people aged 25 and under providing unpaid care for their families in Cornwall, but around 2,000 of those are missing out on vital support that could improve their quality of life.

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Councillor Sally Hawken, Portfolio Holder for Children and Wellbeing said: “Often young carers don’t always realise that they are a young carer. A young carer may help with medication, cooking, cleaning, or helping to dress the person they care for.

“Sadly they can often exclude themselves from personal and social opportunities, as well as their own education. This can impact on their development, ambitions and potential to achieve. We offer a lot of support which can really make a difference to young carers.

“This Carers Rights Day today, we are taking the opportunity to raise awareness of the information and support available to young carers in Cornwall.”

Kernow Young Carers is an Action for Children project commissioned by Cornwall Council, to provide support, activities and support groups for young carers up to 25 years old who look after parents/carers, siblings and other family members. The service is aimed at making sure their caring role does not stop young carers having the same opportunities as all young people. This includes information, advice and guidance, activities and trips, short breaks, support groups, and support in schools.

Over 700 young carers supported by Kernow Young Carers are referred due to their parent’s health problems, which can include disability or long term illness. Nearly 500 young people care for a sibling, and 180 care for parents with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Other reasons for young people becoming carers include parental substance misuse, caring for a grandparent who lives in the family home, and young adult carers who care for a partner.

Kernow Young Carers regularly attend schools to give information to pupils about the support available. They help schools to identify and support young carers, and can also offer 1-1 support where the caring role is having a significant impact on their own welfare and opportunities. They run activities in the holidays to give young carers a break from their caring role and have access to funding to give young carers a trip out on their own or with the person they care for.

Case study from Aaron, aged 14: “I have been a young carer for a year or two. Before I joined Kernow Young Carers, life was hard. Not knowing who’s out there or if anyone can help or show support, and this is when our Family Support Worker signed me up for it. Since day one I have loved it and the way I can just talk to people and they understand the situation I am in, because some people don’t understand the consequences of being a carer. For example going out with mates – I cannot do that because I am caring for my mum and brother.

“My granddad has been a rock for me and my mum because he takes us where we need to go in the car, and helps care for my mum and brother, so he knows the impact and what it’s like to look after someone, for example he cares for my nan.

“I like to do seasonal activities with Kernow Young Carers, like pottery, Christmas films, and summer activities like zip wiring which is my favourite.

“Being with Young Carers helps me talk about being a carer confidently to my mates and people who are going through the same but care for different relatives, and I can make new friends.

“I would like to say thank you to Kernow Young Carers, especially Liz. I would recommend Kernow Young Carers to anyone, and I would like to say if you care for anyone at any age, go speak to them, don’t hold back. It does not matter if you are five or 16, go speak to them and you will see the difference. Liz has been amazing helping me, so now it’s someone else’s turn.”

If you are a young carer or know one please contact Kernow Young Carers. Kernow Young Carers can be contacted on 01872 321 486.

Referrals to Kernow Carers Service (Adults and children) can be made by calling 0800 587 8191.

The Young Carers Service is on Facebook at Kernow Young Carers.

More information is also available at https://www.supportincornwall.org.uk/kb5/cornwall/directory/carers.page

Posted on 30 November 2018