Young Carers Action Day Bilateral Summit: Protecting young carers’ futures
To mark Young Carers Action Day 2021 Carers Trust held a successful Bilateral Summit between the Scottish and Welsh Governments and young carers from both nations.
The event, chaired by world-leading researcher on young carers’ rights and Carers Trust Ambassador, Professor Saul Becker, saw eight young carers discuss their hopes for the future with Mairi Gougeon MSP, Minister for Public Health and Sport, Scottish Government and Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Welsh Government.
As well as celebrating the many skills young carers develop through their caring role, the Summit explored the positive ways in which young carers are supported in Wales and Scotland, such as through Wales’ Young Carers ID Card scheme and the Scotlands’ Young Carer Statement.
Young carers spoke passionately about the benefits of support they receive at school, college and through local carer services and shared their ambition for more to be done to make sure that all professionals are aware of young carers and able to support them properly. They highlighted the importance of all young carers, regardless of where they live, being able to access the support they need at the right point in their caring journey.
Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan, said:
“I was very pleased to participate in the bilateral summit meeting to celebrate Young Carers’ Action Day 2021. This annual day of recognition is an excellent opportunity to highlight the incredible hard work of all of our young carers in Wales and across the UK who are caring and supporting those they love.
“The theme of the day - protecting young carers’ futures - is so important, not just for them but for all of society particularly as we emerge from the pandemic. We want all young people in Wales, including young carers, to have their skills recognised and be supported to have a life alongside caring.”
Mairi Gougeon MSP. Minister for Public Health and Sport
“The incredible contribution made by Scotland’s young carers, particularly given the extra pressures of the last year, can never be understated and I was honoured to be able to take part in the summit and be able to hear the valuable voices of young carers.
“We continue to work with young carers and the organisations that represent them to ensure they can access the right support, both in the short term and in the future. That is why we introduced the Carers Act, which gives all young carers the right to a personalised plan detailing their needs for support. We were the first UK nation to introduce a Young Carer Grant of over £300 for eligible 16 to 18 year old young carers, and we have provided £300,000 in extra funding to support Young Scot’s young carer package, to provide tailored discounts, vouchers and freebies.
“In recognition of the particular challenges some young people with caring responsibilities face in their education journey, we continue to fund national work to raise awareness of young carers and support staff to recognise and support them appropriately. For those young carers in employment or preparing to join the workforce we fund the Carer Positive employer accreditation scheme, to encourage awareness and flexible policies for those juggling work and care.”
Professor Saul Becker comments:
“For over 30 years I have seen the impact caring can have on young carers’ educational attainment and wider life outcomes.
“Despite the fact that young carers often develop impressive and valuable skills through their caring role, all too often they can be hugely disadvantaged when trying to move on in education or gain employment.
“I was pleased to chair the Bilateral Summit, during which the Scottish and Welsh Governments demonstrated genuine commitment to listening to and learning from young carers and taking action to ensure that more young carers are supported to achieve their potential.”
Ffion Harding, a young carer from Powys, comments:
“I thought it was really important for the Ministers to hear directly from us as young carers especially with the challenges of the past year. It means that they can directly address the problems we are facing and hopefully help us to feel more supported in our caring roles.
“It was an incredible experience to have them listening to what we wanted to say and to feel heard.”
Aaron McDonald, a young adult carer and Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, notes:
"The event was fantastic. It allowed our concerns but also our hopes as young carers to be directly heard by ministers from both governments.
“Young carers voices are too often overlooked and go unheard and this event is certainly a starting point for young carers to be heard, as our lives can be so different from other young people."