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.”
This week the charity will be working with Gloucester Academy – running awareness raising assemblies and talking with staff about the support that is being put in place in the school.
Former young carer Megan Bennett is raising awareness of young carers and their issues in her school too. Megan, who supported both her mum and dad for several years, says: “I think it is really important for young carers to be recognised. They do so much behind the scenes that people aren’t aware of. Many young people go home to play on their Xbox or go out with friends but people are unaware of what young carers are doing in support of family members when they go home at the end of a day and they deserve credit for how hard they work. Young Carers Awareness Day will hopefully bring to the surface what they are doing.”
Over the next few months Megg will be running fundraising events in her school Churchdown Academy to support the charity that has supported her family for many years.
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.