Young carers across Gloucestershire will be asking people to spare a thought for them and the challenges they face on National Young Carers Awareness Day on Thursday.
There are believed to be around 7,000 children and young people in Gloucestershire whose lives are affected by having a family member who is disabled, experiencing long-term or terminal ill health or who is experiencing mental ill health. These young people are often facing ‘adult-sized’ responsibilities on top of school work and simply enjoying their childhood.
National Young Carers Awareness Day (Thursday January 28th) has been launched by the Carers Trust, a national support organisation for carers, to get people talking about the hundreds of thousands of carers in the UK who are so often unidentified and who often miss out on vital services and support they are entitled to.
Gloucestershire Young Carers is a charity that has been supporting young carers in this county for more than 22 years. It welcomes the awareness day.
Operations Lead Ele Semadeni says: “Any initiative which encourages people to ‘think young carer’ is welcome. We know we are supporting a small number of the young carers in our county and in order to do more we need to encourage young carers to feel confident to identify themselves and speak to someone they trust about the challenges they are facing. We are working with Young Carer Leads in most of the secondary schools in the county now and a large number of the primary schools to increase support for young carers.”
Harry Doxsey, of Cheltenham, is one of many young carers who work with the charity to raise awareness about issues young carers face and the support they require from professionals. He is a member of the Young Carers Forum. He has, during his time with the Forum, been involved in developing strategies for partner agencies, has met with key members of society including major funders and even presented a bouquet to the Duchess of Gloucester during her visit to the charity.
His mum Kerry says: “Being involved in the Forum has definitely given him more confidence. He comes home so excited about being involved. He loves it. It has been so helpful for Harry to be identified as a young carer and offered the support he has received. We really have seen him become a different child, so much happier and more confident.”
A group of Gloucestershire’s young carers will also be involved in a national conference next month aimed at improving the response of professionals to young carers and their needs.
Spread the news that Young Carers Awareness Day is taking place on 28th Jan by signing up to the Thunderclap http://thndr.me/JDn7xL
More information can also be found on the Gloucestershire Young Carers website: glosyoungcarers.org.uk.