Mind the Gap – Don’t Delay the Journey for Young Carers

Young carers in Gloucestershire will participate in a conference on Monday aimed at making the journey into adulthood a smoother one for them and their peers.

With recent research suggesting that 64% of young carers are still not receiving any form of support, the charity Gloucestershire Young Carers recognises that there is still work to be done in identifying and supporting young people with a caring role in their family.

This Monday will be the 4th Annual Twilight Conference hosted by the charity and will see 90 delegates from health, social care, education and a raft of other agencies attend an event in which 18 young people will share their stories and their views highlight issues for young carers and how they can be best supported.

And the message for this year’s conference is that when it comes to their families’ situations young people are the experts.

Keynote speakers will be Linda Uren and Margaret Wilcox Commissioning Directors for children and adults services respectively at Gloucestershire County Council.

Co-chair Jayne Fletcher, 18, has been engaging with Gloucestershire Young Carers for around nine months and says: “Support from the charity has shown me that what I do and who I am is validated. There are still many young carers who need support and I hope that this conference will help support services to identify those young carers so that, in turn, they can experience validation like I have.”

Mandy Bell, Development Manager at Gloucestershire Young Carers, says: “It is incredibly difficult to understand the lives of young carers.  Three recent reports have given us the clearest picture yet but we must always appreciate that every young carer is different and the situations they face are equally different. It is hard to generalise.”

Two key points in particular which came out of the reports are:

  • 12 to 15 year olds are most at risk of missing school – the key point in their time when they are embarking upon their GCSEs
  • 5 to 11 year olds are more likely to be described as ‘not being in good health’

Conference attendees will be challenged to consider their engagement with young carers and their families.

The event will take place at The Pavilion, Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham GL51 6PN on Monday 20th February from 4pm to 6pm and will comprise presentations and workshops dealing with young carers in education, sibling young carers, young carers in families with mental ill health, Young Adult Carers, young carers supporting family members with substance misuse issues and young carers in relation to adult services.

Gloucestershire Young Carers is in contact with over 1000 young carers, children and young people who have a caring role for someone in their family who is ill, disabled, experiencing mental ill health or who is affected by substance misuse.