Gloucestershire Young Carers Twilight Conference Opens Another Opportunity for Young Carers to Speak Up

Young carers told professionals attending a recent conference ‘we want to see action for young carers – now’.

The 26 young carers who co-produced the Twilight Conference aimed to challenge professionals in health, education, social care and the police to rethink their approaches to how they provide support. They shared their own stories of supporting mums, dads and siblings then said now it was time for action.

17-year-old Aura eloquently explained that young people wanted to see change. She said: “We have too many conversations, we have ticked too many boxes and completed too many forms. We want more interaction; someone we can trust. It is about developing relationships with us.”

Another young carer Madi agreed saying: “As a young carer I am involved in training social workers at university and police officers and they are beginning to get it. Now I want us to focus on the health service, on GPs and the hospitals.”

Chandra who is just 13 said: “GPs don’t believe that we think like adults. We have adult worries and our concerns are not those of other children. We need you to remember that.”

In their presentations to around 80 delegates they explained that professionals try to ‘hide information’ from them and they explained that when they are supporting their parents in hospital or in the doctor’s surgery they worry more when information is withheld.

Professionals attending the event assured the young people that they had been heard.

Anna Rarity, Patients and Public Involvement Manager (Strategic Projects) for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust pledged to meet the challenge by involving young carers in future strategic developments.

She said: “I listened with interest to what the young people said and want to assure them that their voices have been heard and we will act. We will be working with Gloucestershire Young Carers to involve young carers at strategic level to make a difference in the way we support them in our hospitals, this will include updating and promoting our Young Carers Handbook.