Carers Trust Wales’ report on the experiences of young adult carers, ‘Time to be Heard Wales’, has found that young adult carers are four times more likely to drop out of college or university than a young person without caring responsibilities.
The report, to be launched before the Senedd on 2 July, provides recommendations about what can be done to better support young adult carers in Wales. The event will include speeches from young adult carers, the Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis AM, and the Deputy Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething AM.
Young adult carers are those aged 14-25 who care, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. There are over 22,000 young adult carers in Wales balancing their caring duties with their education, employment or training – that’s at least one young adult carer in every class.
The report is part of Carers Trust Wales’ campaign to raise awareness of young adult carers among decision makers in Wales, and to give young adult carers the opportunities they need to make their voice heard. Carers Trust Wales has spent the past year talking to young adult carers in Wales, finding out about the barriers they face and what would make a difference to their lives.
The ‘Time to be Heard Wales’ report draws on these findings as well as research that Carers Trust commissioned the University of Nottingham to undertake of young adult carers UK-wide.
The report also finds that young adult carers:
- Miss or cut short on average 48 school days a year because of their caring role
- Over a third (35%) had not informed someone in school that they were a carer
- Experience high rates of bullying – one quarter reported bullying and abuse in school because they were a carer
- Have higher rates of poor mental and physical health than the average young person
- Jodie Williams, a young adult carer who is in her first year of university, said: “One of the challenges of being a young adult carer is having a balance. Making sure that I focus on myself as well as everything else.
“One of the challenges with education is having the time to do everything and to take part in as much as I can. Being a young adult carer makes the decision to carry on with education very difficult. I found that a very important part of the decision is to consider everything, for example location, time, and money.
“The main thing that has really helped me is having support. One of the smallest things, just knowing someone is there to talk to. It really makes a difference.”
Simon Hatch, Director of Carers Trust Wales, said: “There are at least 22,655 young adult carers in Wales, and we believe 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.
“This report is clear, there is a need for greater recognition, support and understanding of young adult carers in local authorities, education, and employment.
It is time to listen to the voices of young adult carers and create a Wales that not only gives young adult carers the support they need but also the recognition they deserve.”
For further information, contact Kieron Rees: firstname.lastname@example.org / 07824 567813