On behalf of the 700,000 young carers across the UK we would like to thank everyone who got involved and helped make the third year of Young Carers Awareness Day such a success.
The theme for the day was when I grow up which highlighted the shocking stats from our latest research indicating that 73% of young carers miss school, with a third doing so on a regular basis.
Faced with these challenges it is no wonder that young carers often consistently underachieve at school, and if they get there at all, are much more likely to drop out of higher education, all due to the stresses and strains imposed on them as a carer.
This is why Young Carers Awareness Day is so vital in keeping these issues in the public eye.
Here is a round-up of some key activities and coverage on the day:
- BBC Breakfast filmed young carers and interviewed Carers Trust's CEO. This ran several times getting the story across throughout the morning.
- Newsround ran a video throughout the day in conjunction with CBBC. A young carer also provided tips to others in this situation, reaching young carers of people with other conditions: BBC Newsbeat - Tips on being a young carer - from someone who knows
- Channel 5 filmed a young carer case study with Carers Trust CEO Gail Scott Spicer alongside to put the story in focus. They also used their extensive social media reach to engage audiences.
- Sky Sunrise, also joined by Gail, ran the story on Friday.
- The Guardian featured an article written by a former young carer which was widely shared across social media. The author also then joined the debate on the BBC Asian Network the same evening.
- #YoungCarersAwarenessDay was trending on Twitter in the UK as thousands of people supported the day!
- Numerous members of The Carers Trust Network ran local events, promoting their services, raising awareness with local schools and raising money to support their work. These were picked up extensively by local press and radio, giving great traction to the issues.
- The Minister for Community Health and Care David Mowat showed his support by visiting Carers Trust in Cheshire (his local constituency) and writing a very supportive blog: Gov.uk - Ambition Interrupted for young carers
- The Children’s Minister Ed Timpson made a short film focussing on what he wanted to be when he grew up, which was widely shared on social media.
- The First Minister in Scotland actively supported the day on social media. Lots of MPs took part in local visits and supported the day on social media too.
- The Children’s Commissioner for England supported the day with a short video. Other key professional bodies also lent their support, including ADASS, LGA and CQC providing commentary and responses which were shared on social media.
- NHS England ran a blog marking the day and the issues young carers face. Lots of staff considered what they had wanted to be when they grew up, and reflected on the support that had been there for them. It opened their eyes to how much harder it can be if you are the one doing all the supporting.
- Huffington Post ran a great piece on young carers in their young people’s section.
- Children and Young People Now, the dedicated magazine for professionals working with children, young people and families, ran a great article covered all the key messages: CYPNow - majority of young carers take time off school.
- First News and The Education Supplement ran extensive pieces ensuring our messages were heard loud and clear in schools.
- ITV Wales adapted the story to reflect the issues for young carers in Wales
- Numerous Local Authorities got on board and shared our materials with anyone working with children and young people in their organisation, including schools. Many chose the day to launch new initiatives, make pledges and use local press to get messages out there about young carers’ rights to assessments.
- Professor Saul Becker chose the day to launch a film about his pioneering work in the sector and got involved with several Carers Trust Network Partners.
- Numerous schools became involved, telling us what they do now and what they hope to do now they know more. School nurses took a lead role in using the materials Carers Trust provided. One Network Partner as a result of the day has opened the door into 55 schools.
- BBC Asian Network ran a debate about the issues, allowing us to reach an entirely new audience.
- Just about every children’s charity who run services for young carers took part in some way adding to the event and its sector wide credibility. Locally there were some joint events for example Leeds Carers teamed up with a Barnardos service, Willow.
- The day even brought overseas mentions from organisations linked to work with young carers including (for those that speak German!) a new report launch in Germany
Young Carers Awareness Day achieved a lot for young carers on the day and it was heartening to see the number of organsiations and indivduals getting involved.
But young carers don’t just care for a day, they care every day - and we need to keep identifying and signposting them to the support that is available so they can grow up without stigma, without fear and the pressure that caring can bring. It is vital we keep this momentum up, continue to identify young carers and ensure an effective support network is developed for them.
Read our original news story on young carers not fulfilling their ambitions
Find further resources and information for professionals working with young carers and their families.