Raising awareness and support of young carers in Lincolnshire

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Today (January 25) Lincolnshire County Council is supporting Young Carers Awareness Day to ensure young people who are caring for a loved one get the help they need.

Almost 1,500 young people under the age of 19 who have a caring role within the family home are supported by the county council, however, it is estimated there are many more young people who do not identify themselves as carers and are missing out on support.

To mark the day, the county council says it is calling for more young carers to come forward and give feedback on their situation and the support they need.

Coun Patricia Bradwell, Executive Member for Adult Care and Children’s Services, said: “We’re continually inspired by stories of young carers who achieve so much, not only their support to family members they care for, but also in their achievements at school and contributions to their communities. I’d like to encourage all young carers and the people around them to tell us what would help in identifying and supporting them.

“If you would like to give us your thoughts or would like to know more about the support available to young carers and their families please contact youngcarers@lincolnshire.gov.uk . There’s no need to struggle on your own – we can support you.”

Debbie Barnes, Director of Children’s Services, added: “In Lincolnshire, we want to ensure every young carer is recognised, valued, and supported to have good health and wellbeing, and achieve their full potential. So it’s important we work in partnership with children, young people and families to help provide services and support that they need.

“Young people not only have to cope with the complexities of growing and learning, but also that of their parents or siblings’ health conditions, preventing them from enjoying childhood in the way other children do. It’s a challenge no one, regardless of age, should face alone.”

On average, two young carers in every UK secondary school miss or cut short around 10 weeks of school each year because of their caring role. Many report problems coping with school work and nearly 60 per cent say they struggle to meet deadlines.

A Carers Trust survey revealed that only half of young carers have a particular person in school who recognises that they are a carer and helps them.

* Many young carers said they missed or cut short many school days every year, the average being 48 school days.

* Fifty-six per cent of young adult carers in college or university were struggling because of their caring role.

* Seventeen per cent said they may have to drop out for reasons associated with their caring role and 13 per cent said that they may have to drop out for financial reasons.

* Young adult carers appear to be four times more likely to have to drop out of their college or university course than other students.

Chloe has cared for her brother for three years. She’s grateful that support she receives has enabled her to continue her education as she is currently a student at the University of Lincoln.

She says: “Being at university allows me to create an independent identity; I am a law student, ambassador, school rep. But I am also a carer following my brother’s brain injury which resulted in severe amnesia. By encompassing all of my qualities, and with greater awareness, understanding and empathy for my role as a carer, I have been offered greater flexibility and support which has enabled me to achieve all I want in aspects of university life.

“Being immersed in a university community enables students to embrace all of their strengths, interests and aspirations. As a young adult carer, I find this incredibly important as it allows them to overcome challenges in a positive way and build a support network outside of the caring role.”

The Lincolnshire Young Carers Service helps and supports children and young people up to the age of 19 who are helping to care for someone at home. You can contact Lincolnshire Young Carers by phoning 01522 553275, emailing youngcarers@lincolnshire.gov.uk. The Lincolnshire Carers Service support young adult carers aged 16-24 and can be contacted on 01522 782224 or by emailing CarersService@lincolnshire.gov.uk.