Young people from across Scotland who provide unpaid care for a family member or friend are gathering at an event today hosted by Carers Trust Scotland (Tuesday 26 January) to share their experiences with each other, MSPs and representatives from higher education and local authorities. The young adult carers will provide an insight into the struggles young adult carers face as well as the difference support services have made to their lives. They will be urging decision makers to ensure every young adult carer in Scotland has access to a support service.

The event, called Time to be Heard for Young Adult Carers, is organised by Carers Trust Scotland and comes one year after the initial campaign was launched. The 150 attendees will hear testimonies from young adult carers who have been helped by support services and projects, some of which have been funded by Carers Trust. The charity hopes that the event will help to raise awareness of the positive impact services can have on young people with caring responsibilities.

Ailsa Tweedie (25 years old) from Newmains, North Lanarkshire who cares for her mum said:

“Caring for my mum while trying to balance my distance learning degree, volunteering roles and also trying to have a social life is really difficult. I was really struggling and was feeling isolated, not many people that are my age fully understand what being a young adult carer can be like. The Time to be Heard for Young Adult Carers national campaign opportunities helped me by giving me a chance to work with people my own age who all understood exactly what being a young adult carer is like and gave me the chance to take part in developing campaigns, such as the Going Higher for Student Carers campaign, that will not only make a positive difference in my own life, but will positively impact the opportunities and support available for all young adults carers.”

Five carers centres in Scotland have received funding from Carers Trust to develop tailored support services for young adult carers in their area. For example, PKAVS (Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service) received £40,000 to employ a dedicated young adult carer worker who provides support to existing young adult carers and has formed partnerships with local organisations to help them identify young adult carers they may come into contact with.

Paul Traynor, Young Adult Carer Policy & Campaigns Officer for Carers Trust Scotland, said:

“Our research shows that young adult carers experience a lot of difficulties in their education and employment prospects, as well as their health and wellbeing.

However we know from listening to some of the success stories, that with improved awareness and identification and access to the right support at the right time, young adult carers can thrive. We would like to see this replicated across Scotland to ensure that these young people are not negatively impacted because of their caring responsibilities.”