A CAMPAIGN to support the health and wellbeing of young carers is growing in momentum following a “significant increase” in the number supporting a family member for more than 50 hours a week and the devastating impact of the cost-of living-crisis.
Ahead of Young Carers Action Day on Wednesday (March 15), Credu is calling on schools, colleges, health bodies and communities to show more awareness and create opportunities for the thousands of carers across the country looking after a loved one.
Organised by Carers Trust, the Action Day wants people to ‘Make Time for Young Carers’, including the 1,400+ identified in Wrexham, Conwy, and Denbighshire and more than 1,000 in Powys and Ceredigion.
They want to see extended understanding in schools and workplaces, and more access to breaks and financial and mental health support.
Young people have been writing to MPs and Members of the Senedd, asking them to sign up to a five-point pledge committing them to supporting children and young people in a caring role.
And Credu has developed resources with guidance and advice, including a Young Carer’s Identity Card that can be worn on a lanyard, so teachers, staff and members of the public understand their situation.
Young Carers Coordinator Sally Duckers said: “Our focus is on awareness and asking schools, colleges, and people in society to take time to listen to young carers and find out what might help them to not just survive but thrive.
“The ID card is available across the whole of Wales and makes it easier for young carers to show they care in health settings, educational settings, or employment, where having a caring role may impact them.
“Given the effect of the cost-of-living crisis on families across the country, we are encouraging local businesses to pledge their support by offering a discount on entrance costs or goods that could support young carers – all of this could make a huge difference.”
The National Census of 2021 highlighted how young carers and young adult carers in England and Wales were more likely to be living in areas of high deprivation, compared to their peers without caring responsibilities.
There has been a marked rise in the number of young carers and young adult carers who care for at least 20 hours a week and there are still tens of thousands of young people caring for more than 50 hours. This is despite it being nearly 10 years since the introduction of new legal rights for young carers.
In a new Carers Trust Survey around 56% of respondents said the cost-of-living crisis is always or usually hitting them and their family, with a third admitting they always or usually face additional costs because they are a carer.
Carers Trust’s CEO, Kirsty McHugh, said: “These shocking survey results show young people caring for their loved ones are being hit by a perfect storm of increasing intensity in their caring responsibilities and the spiralling cost of living.
“It cannot be right that children and young adult carers are having to take on the burden of dealing with stretched household finances and caring for ever longer hours, to the detriment of their education and wellbeing.
“A national strategy for unpaid carers must finally be developed after years of delay, while an overhaul of Carer’s Allowance is long overdue. Young people also tell us they urgently need support with mental health and access to breaks. It’s high time we gave them the help they so sorely need.”
Use the hashtag #YoungCarersActionDay to support the campaign.