Young Carers Action Day sees the launch of Young Carers ID Cards across Wales
In Wales there are at least 7,500 young carers. A young carer is someone aged 25 and under who cares for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.
Young carers do so much to help and support family members and friends, often unseen, providing, practical and emotional help and support every day of the year including washing, lifting and cooking to organising the family finances.
Carers Trust Wales are pleased to have been instrumental partners in supporting 12 local authorities across Wales to be launching an ID card today under the new national model funded by Welsh Government.
The new Young Carers ID Card being launched today across 12 local authorities in Wales responds to what young carers themselves have told us for many years: that they want and need to receive more understanding, recognition and support from society about the role they play, especially from the professionals they come into contact with most often.
The Young Carers ID card, is a simple card to help professionals including doctors, teachers and pharmacists to recognise them and support them appropriately. Cards may look different across Wales but all will contain a photo of the young carer, their date of birth, and an expiration date, as well as contact information for Carers Trust Wales and their local authority and young carers services. All cards and accompanying resources will display the Young Carers ID card logo, which was designed by two young carers.
We know the new Young Carers ID Card will boost the confidence of young carers themselves but crucially it is vital that the card also helps doctors, teachers, pharmacists and other professionals to better identify and support young carers. Alongside the development of the card itself Carers Trust Wales has worked in partnership with professional bodies to co-produce a range of learning resources. These resources including animations and young carers’ stories will help teachers, doctors and others understand more about the challenges young carers face.
The Young Carers ID card is a good example of the real difference a charity like Carers Trust Wales can make. We have led the way for many years highlighting the challenges facing young carers, sharing and promoting young carers’ voices with decision makers and offering solutions. But the card (and the purpose behind it) has always been shaped by young carers themselves.
Young carers who take part in the Carers Trust Wales Youth Council are very clear about what they expect. They have shared a clear message with us, what they need is support, not sympathy. They expect action, not words. Hence Young Carers Action Day. We’ve been listening to young carers for many years but the last year has been very different and exceptionally difficult. Young Carers have shared experiences with us about their struggles during lockdown and the damaging impact that the pandemic has had on their physical and mental wellbeing. Young carers were clear about the theme for Young Carers Action Day 2021; ‘Protect Young Carers’ Futures’.
Young carers want us to concentrate on how we can make sure their voices are heard and how we can all take action to improve their futures; whether that be in education, in work or at home.
So we are calling on Welsh Government to go even further and deliver a coherent national plan to support young carers in the years ahead. In shaping our work young carers wanted to emphasise the importance of their caring role in building their potential and giving them the skills to achieve their ambitions.
We will be working with local councils over the course of the next year to support them to launch the new card in every part of Wales. With the development of this card we are doing everything we can to protect young carers’ futures. We are determined that, over the course of the years ahead, more and more young carers will be recognised and supported for their talents and abilities so they can live life to the full and follow their dreams.
Director, Carers Trust Wales