New research from Carers Trust reveals 80% of young carers are missing out on childhood experiences

New survey results published today reveal up to 80% of young carers are missing out on their childhoods because they are caring for family and friends, according to research carried out by Carers Trust, the UK’s largest charity for carers.

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.

This new data has been released today, by Carers Trust, to mark the charity’s national Young Carers Awareness Day.

The day shines a spotlight on the vast range of tasks these children carry out, day-in-day-out – highlighting how children are missing out on their childhoods because they are looking after their parents or siblings.

Today’s day of action for young carers 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 help them to receive the help and support they desperately need.

Results from Carers Trust’s new survey reveal:

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

In a separate survey by Carers Trust, new data also reveals that 30% of young carers across the UK are looking after an adult with mental health and substance misuse issues. 

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.”

Carers Trust wants to get everyone talking about Young Carers Awareness Day and is targeting politicians, teachers, medical staff and anyone working with children to take action to identify and support young carers.

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