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Nearly 120 sign Young Carers Covenant in first 24 hours as group rallies support in Westminster

Nearly 120 people and organisations have signed Carers Trust's new Young Carers Covenant within 24 hours of its launch, as a group of young people rallied support in Westminster.

The Young Carers Covenant, launched on Young Carers Action Day (13 March), sets out 10 key goals that organisations and individuals can commit to and help young carers reach their full potential.

Carers Freya, Flo, Taylor and Alice travelled to Westminster on 13 March with Carers Trust's Policy and Practice Manager, Andy McGowan, for a packed day of meetings with MPs and Peers to discuss the Covenant and get their support.

Their day began with a roundtable discussion at the Department for Education with the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, David Johnston. Mr Johnston, who became one of the first people to sign the Covenant, listened and asked questions as the group told him about the initiative and what it is trying to achieve.

From there the group got a tour of the Houses of Parliament before heading off to a drop-in event where they chatted with MPs from all parties, talking about the challenges they face, their future hopes and what people in power can do to help.

Minister for Social Care Helen Whately, Shadow Minister for Social Care Andrew Gwynne and Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey were among more than 20 MPs and Peers who signed the Covenant at the Portcullis House event.

They were joined at the event by Carers Trust’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Dominic Carter, and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Young and Young Adult Carers, Paul Blomfield MP.

The final stop on their busy day of activities was the Department for Work and Pensions where they handed in a letter, signed by more than 200 organisations and organised by Carers Trust with the Learning and Work Institute, calling for young adult carers to be exempt from the 21-hour rule. The rule currently stops young adult carers from claiming Carer's Allowance if they study for more than 21 hours per week, affecting whether they can study for qualifications like A levels and T levels.

Alongside handing in the letter, the delegation chatted with staff at the Department about their future plans and suggested ways access to employment can be improved for young carers.

Their Westminster trip was just one of a huge range of activities that were held across the UK to mark Young Carers Action Day, with many other organisations and young people joining in online.

In Scotland, Young Carers Action Day kicked off with a video by Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport, Maree Todd. The Minister reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to “making sure young carers get the support they need to achieve their goals for the future”.

Other events held on the day included Scottish young carers having their voices heard by politicians and decision makers during a Young Carers Action Day Question Time panel event organised by Carers Trust Scotland and PKAVS Young Carers.

In Wales, young carers met the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan, to discuss issues that matter to them.

Taking place annually and led by Carers Trust, Young Carers Action  Day raises awareness of young and young adult carers, the challenges they face and their need for far greater support. This year’s Young Carers Action Day theme was Fair Futures for Young Carers.


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