In 2018 we held a special supporter reception at St James’s Palace in the presence of our President, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

Tom speaking to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal with his brother and Carers Trust staff member

With one in 12 secondary-school-aged children taking on a caring role that even most adults would find a challenge, young carer Tom shared his story on the evening, giving a real insight into the responsibilities involved.

Tom is 14 years old and started caring for his mum two years ago after she was diagnosed with cancer for a second time. She now uses a wheelchair and has limited mobility, and it’s only with Tom and his ten-year-old brother Malachy’s support, that Tom’s dad is able to continue to work full-time. Tom supports his mum in many ways, including helping to dress her and ensuring that she takes the right medication – which also involves giving injections - at the right time.

Getting support from a local Carers Trust service

Tom told guests at our reception about the difference that his local Carers Trust service – Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk - has made to his and Malachy’s life.  

The frequent trips that they went on with other young carers during the summer that their mum was hospitalised helped to distract them from their mum’s illness and gave them the opportunity to meet other people of their age who understood what they were going through. Tom is now a peer mentor supporting others in similar situations, and a young carers ambassador too. He spoke about being a young carer in his school’s assembly, helping to raise awareness and understanding of the challenges involved, and the support that’s available.

Royal support

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal told guests at our reception about her long personal involvement with our charity and how crucial it is for carers to have access to the support they need in order to continue to care, and live their own lives too.  She reflected on some of the ways that Carers Trust supports young carers like Tom through its local services and the Young Carers in Schools Programme.

Carers Trust reached more than 500,000 carers last year, but Her Royal Highness reminded people on the night just how important their continued support is in helping us reach more of the seven million unpaid carers in the UK today.

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Tom's story featured in the September 2018 edition of our supporter's magazine We Care.

If you would like us to stay in touch, and hear about the difference that we’re making to carers’ lives, sign up and we’ll let you know when the latest edition of We Care comes out.