Young adult carers in Northern Ireland will be given the chance to get their voices heard in Stormont on Thursday January 28 as they take part in an event to mark the launch by Carers Trust Northern Ireland of their Time to be Heard campaign.

The campaign launch coincides with Young Carers Awareness day, a UK-wide awareness day which aims to raise awareness of the issues facing young and young adult carers.  A Time to be Heard pilot programme will be officially unveiled and will involve over 50 young adult carers from Northern Ireland in looking at barriers which, as a result of caring, prevent them from taking up opportunities normally available to people of their age. The 18 month programme will seek to enhance their life skills while raising awareness of their circumstances with employers, educational establishment and public bodies.

The programme is part of the UK Time to Be Heard initiative which has been funded from monies raised by staff at the Cooperative. In this regard Young Adult Carers from Scotland have agreed to attend to support their counterparts at the event. Participants in the programme have produced a video for the event highlighting the issues faced by them. This will be shown during the event. They will also spend time capturing the event itself, interviewing people who attend.

Young Adult Carers from across Northern Ireland will attend and the event is sponsored by John McAllister, MLA. Alex Atwood MLA & Claire Hanna MLA are also supporting the launch.

Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust comments: “There are at least 30,000 young adult carers in Northern Ireland and we think it’s time their voices were heard.” “Many young adult carers have been caring for most of their lives. Often putting the needs of the person they care for above their own. Leaving school, going to college or university, entering employment – these are difficult transitions for all young adults. But for young adult carers, when there isn’t the support that they need, they can be insurmountable obstacles. It’s time to give them the support that they need.”

Sean Caughey Development Manager Carers Trust NI agreed “There is a gap in services in Northern Ireland and Young Adult Carers very much suffer as a result. England, Scotland and Wales have made great in roads in relation to shaping support services for Young Adult Carers. Northern Ireland is substantially behind and it is hoped that this launch will highlight the need to take the concerns of Young Adult Carers seriously and be a conduit to putting meaningful support mechanisms in place. Thanks to those MLAs who have supported the launch”.