“I was almost expelled for low attendance and punctuality…because people weren’t listening to me. I needed support. I didn’t need to be penalised.” Halima, Young Adult Carer

 

Today is Young Carers Action Day. In Merton alone there are an estimated 2000 Young Carers like Halima who are part of an often-invisible army of Young Carers around the UK who must cope with the daily pressures of caring for a family member who cannot look after themselves.

They might be making sure a parent with a long-term illness has the right medication and arranging regular hospital visits. Or they could be helping a parent to look after a sibling experiencing poor mental health or behavioural problems.

This year’s action day focuses on Protecting Young Carers’ Futures.  Young Carers want their amazing skills and experience beyond their years (resilience, resourcefulness, empathy, strong sense of responsibility) to be valued. They want to be listened to and receive support they need when they need it so they don't pay the price for caring with fewer life chances and opportunities than their non-caring peers.

  • 1 in 20 Young Carers report missing school because of their caring role

  • Young Adult Carers between 16 and 18 years are twice as likely not to be in education, training or employment

  • 56% of young adult carers in college or university were struggling because of their caring role and are four times more likely to drop out of further education than their peers

Halima has been a carer for most of her life helping to look after her brother who has complex needs. Now a Young Adult Carer, as a child she slipped through the net, suffered anxiety and was penalised at school because of her caring responsibilities. She often felt out of control because she was not being heard by the adults who should and could have been supporting her. Finding CSM was lifeline. Against the odds, Halima is now studying for her Master’s degree. Listen to her talking about her experience here.

We don’t want any more children to slip through the net. Here at CSM we support children and young people from the age of five many of whom have had responsibilities thrust on them that most adults would find challenging. Halima’s story is not unusual.  If you work with young people you may already know a young carer without even realising it. Recognising when a child or young person is a carer is not always straightforward, even for teachers and health and welfare professionals. It's time for adults to step up.

Six ways you can help protect young carers futures: