New survey results published today reveal that up to 80% of young carers are missing out on childhood because they are caring for family and friends.

Instead of seeing friends, enjoying hobbies and completing their homework, these children, as young as 10-years-old, are cleaning, cooking, administering medicine, shopping and looking after a brother or sister – along with many other daily tasks.

The research has been released to mark Young Carers Awareness Day, which aims to shine a spotlight on the vast range of tasks these children carry out, day-in-day-out. The day of action includes numerous ‘audience with young carers’ events taking place across the country, in a bid to help identify others who may not know they are a young carer, and to help them receive the support they desperately need.

The survey results reveal that:

  • 80% of young carers say they miss out on what other children their age are doing because of their caring role;
  • 82% said they miss out on seeing friends – 60% said they miss attending events and other activities and 45% struggle to get their homework done on time;
  • 80% carry out their caring role every day;
  • 50% help to administer medicines to family members;
  • Almost a quarter of those surveyed care for more than 20 hours a week;
  • 41% help with personal care, such as washing and helping the person they care for to get dressed.

Gail Scott-Spicer, CEO of Carers Trust, said:

“Thousands of young carers across the UK are missing out on their childhoods because they are caring for an ill family member. Playing out with friends, going on trips and to the cinema are some of the things that most young people look forward to, but for many young carers their reality is cleaning, shopping and cooking instead.

“Young carers are constantly burdened with the worry of what is happening to the parent or sibling they care for at home. Their caring role never stops - whether they are at home or school.

“As part of Young Carers Awareness Day, we want as many people as possible to help identify and raise awareness of young carers and the invaluable work they do.

“We want these children to be able to live a full life, like their friends, which means they won’t be missing out on their childhoods - getting the help and support they desperately need.”