The Co-operative hit the right note with unpaid young adult carers today (24 January) as it launched a “record” breaking year of fundraising for its new Charity of the Year, Carers Trust.

Helping to get fundraising activities ‘rock ‘n’ rolling’, The Co-operative were joined for the launch by singer, songwriter and actress, Jade Ewen, a young adult carer herself who gave up her birthday to attend the launch and support other young carers.

The charity - which formed last year when The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care came together - will benefit from The Co-operative’s 100,000 staff aiming to raise £5 million to tackle feelings of isolation and provide desperately needed breaks, information, advice and support for 14-25 year-olds facing the challenge of caring.

To mark the launch, staff at The Co-operative tuned into a “Rock Around the Clock” theme – an acknowledgement of the 24/7 nature of the challenges facing the estimated 500,000 young people in the UK who care for a family member or friend who are ill, frail, disabled or have mental health or addiction problems.

The day’s activities also include a charity music concert in the auditorium at the new head office of The Co-operative Group, 1 Angel Square, Manchester, with the Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative, Peter Marks CBE, on drums. The “Rock Around the Co-op” concert striking a chord with colleagues from across its businesses who joined the line-up.

Peter Marks CBE, Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative, said: “I am delighted to officially launch The Co-operative’s partnership with Carers Trust and its work to support those young people in our communities who undertake unpaid practical and emotional caring responsibilities for a family member or friend who cannot cope without their support.

“Although it will affect most families at some time, the challenges of unpaid caring is an often hidden issue and, our work with Carers Trust - which forms an integral part of our commitment to inspiring young people - sets out to change that. I am confident that with the support of our staff, members and customers we can make life changing differences to thousands of young people across the UK.”

Jade Ewen, said: “As someone who has been, and still is, a young adult carer, I’m really pleased to be able to support others through Carers Trust.

“I know how hard it can be for young people with caring responsibilities so it’s great that The Co-operative has chosen Carers Trust to be their charity of the year - I hope that many, many, young lives will be improved hugely as a result.”

Thea Stein, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, said: “We are incredibly excited at the prospects of the year ahead, working alongside The Co-operative to provide much needed help for this frequently overlooked and neglected group of dedicated and hard-working young people who are all around us in our communities and who desperately need our support.

“Our partnership with The Co-operative will focus on young adult carers, with the money raised completely transforming many of these young people's lives - not just for today, or tomorrow, but for ever! Importantly, as well as raising the money to provide this vital support, we will also be able to bring the hidden issue of unpaid

carers to centre stage where it should be, so that no-one is isolated and under pressure, caring for a loved one with no support. We are looking forward to a wonderful, transformative year.”

There are an estimated 7 million unpaid carers across the UK and this year, The Co-operative aims to raise much needed money for its new Charity of the Year, Carers Trust, to transform the lives of the UK’s unpaid young adult carers – people in communities who are more than twice as likely not to be in education, employment or training1, many of whom have not taken a break of two days or more since they started caring.