National Action Plan urgently needed to protect young carers' futures
71% of young carers and 85% of young adult carers are more worried about the future since coronavirus.
45% of young carers and 68% of young adult carers say their mental health is worse since coronavirus.
40% of young carers and 56% of young adult carers feel overwhelmed by the pressures they are now facing.
On Young Carers Action Day (16 March 2021), Carers Trust Scotland is calling on Scottish Government to commit to developing a new cross-cutting National Action Plan to protect the futures of children and young people with caring responsibilities.
These plans are urgently needed to address a downward spiral in the mental health of young carers across Scotland, and the adverse impact this is having on their hopes for the future.
A recent Carers Trust Scotland survey revealed high levels of anxiety and stress among young carers. The survey found over two thirds (71%) of young carers aged 12 to 17, and 85% of young adult carers aged 18 to 25 were experiencing increased concern for their futures since coronavirus.
To address these challenges, Scottish Government’s National Action Plan should include clear actions that can be delivered at pace. They should address education, employability and health and wellbeing prospects among young people with caring responsibilities.
Louise Morgan, Director of Carers Trust Scotland comments:
“It is important on Young Carer Action Day to highlight the additional challenges young carers have experienced as result of the pandemic and think about their futures.
“It is vital that Scottish Government introduces a new National Action Plan which is ambitious and ensures young carers in Scotland have the support that they need and are given a fair chance to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives.”
To Protect Young Carers’ Futures and help make a National Action Plan for young carers a reality, Carers Trust Scotland is working with young carers across Scotland to ask statutory bodies to make meaningful commitments to deliver young carers’ rights across health, social care, education and employment.
Speaking about her hopes for Young Carers Action Day, Ilse Cuthbertson a young carer and Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Carers Trust Scotland comments:
"The Young Carers Action Day Steering Group chose to focus on protecting young carers futures. This theme fits in perfectly with this year, as due to the pandemic it is now more important than ever that we protect the futures of young people with caring responsibilities."
Welcoming the call for a National Action Plan to protect young carers’ futures, world-leading researcher on young carers’ rights and Carers Trust Ambassador, Dr Saul Becker, said:
“During the pandemic, we have seen millions of people, rightly, furloughed to stay at home, paid by the government and told they must NOT work. On the other hand, carers of all ages, and especially carers under the age of 25, have been forced to stay at home because schools have closed, health and social care services have been cancelled, and young carers have taken on many of the responsibilities of statutory and other service providers, often on a full-time basis.
“It’s young carers’ turn for recognition and support. We desperately need national and local action plans to make sure that young carers are not left behind; that they are no longer ignored and invisible. We must safeguard their futures – and see this as a sound investment not a cost.”
Employers called on to protect young carers’ futures
Carers Trust is also urging employers to protect young carers’ futures by acknowledging the unique skills and attributes young carers develop from an early age, such as time-management skills, resilience, empathy and a sense of responsibility for others.
We are already working with our corporate supporters to develop resources and provide experience to facilitate young carers’ pathways into employment:
- With funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery we are building an internship training programme for young people with caring responsibilities.
- The financial services group, Quilter, have supported us in setting up a Steering Group for young carers and young adult carers to come together to plan.
- With support from the leading online florist Bloom & Wild we are developing a series of workshops for young carers to gain invaluable workplace experience and insights.
Young carers and expert spokespeople from Carers Trust Scotland, including Dr. Saul Becker, are available for interview on request.
For further information, and to arrange interviews, please contact:
Paul Traynor on firstname.lastname@example.org and 07824 542964.
Matt Whitticase on email@example.com and 07824 539481.
Notes to Editor:
Young Carers Action Day is an annual event led and organised by Carers Trust. This year Young Carers Action Day takes place on 16 March. The day aims to raise awareness of the pressures experienced by young carers – children who need to look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.
About our work with employers to protect young carers’ futures
We have developed three key steps employers can take to remove barriers blocking young carers’ paths into work and to make their workplaces suitable for young carers as they move into the working world.
Taking these steps not only helps us create brighter futures for young people with caring responsibilities. It will also widen your talent pool, giving you greater access to young people willing to develop the skills they have already learned as young carers and put them to practice in your business or organisation.
- Visibility: We call on employers to normalise conversations around caring, and for employees to share their own caring journey.
- Recognition: We call on employers to acknowledge and recognise the skills that young and young adult carers can bring to the workplace.
- Opportunities: We call on employers to offer opportunities to help young carers to start their career journey, building aspirations and skills and improving pathways to employment. This could be through updating existing programmes to become more inclusive for carers, or through tailored activities and programmes for young carers, such as career insights days and skills workshops.
About Carers Trust Scotland
Carers Trust Scotland is part of Carers Trust, a major charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.
We do this with a network of quality assured independent partners and through the provision of grants to help carers get the extra help they need to live their own lives. With locally based carer services we are able to support carers in their homes through the provision of replacement care, and in the community with information, advice, emotional support, hands on practical help and access to much needed breaks. We offer specialist services for carers of people of all ages and conditions and a range of individual tailored support and group activities.
Our vision is that unpaid carers count and can access the help they need to live their lives.