Young carers from across England are celebrating news of a £1.2 million funding boost to improve local support for young carers and their families.
Yesterday’s announcement (Tuesday 26 February) by Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families, comes as 30 children, whose daily lives are dramatically affected by caring for family members, met with professionals to celebrate the achievements of an innovative young carer project.
The ‘Prevention Through Partnership’ (PTP) programme was developed by The Children’s Society, for young carers who are affected by parental substance misuse and mental ill health. It brings together local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to share good practice to improve the lives of children at risk of becoming young carers.
This new funding from the Department for Education (DfE) means that the next phase of work can now go ahead. Led by Carers Trust, and supported by The Children’s Society, the ‘Next Steps’ programme will continue the work of PTP, improving vital local services for young carers and families across England.
There are an estimated 139,000 young carers in England, but The Children’s Society believes this number to be just the tip of the iceberg. Many young carers remain hidden from official sight for a host of reasons, including family loyalty, stigma or bullying.
Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families said:
“Young carers demonstrate extraordinary dedication every day for which we cannot thank them enough. I want to let them know that they are not alone.
“The Children’s Society and Carers Trust are already playing a vital part in helping local authorities to tailor their services to provide better support for young carers. I am delighted to announce that we have awarded them a new contract worth £1.2 million over the next two years to continue this good work.”
The ‘Next Steps’ programme will focus on supporting the whole family, to make sure that the needs of young carers are met. Many of the young carers at today’s event come from hidden and marginalised groups, including children caring for family members with drug and alcohol dependency.
Young carer, RJ Dorey, aged 16, who co-chaired the PTP celebration event, said: “The Prevention Through Partnership project has been an amazing success and it’s great that we now have two more years to push forward. It’s really important that young carers get the chance to express their views. There is a huge impact on me, being a young carer. I have to carry around this weight on my shoulders as I juggle studying, caring, family and friends. We would like authorities to look at the bigger picture, the whole family, and not just one person’s problems.”
The Children’s Society’s Chief Executive, Matthew Reed, said:
“This million-pound funding boost is amazing news for young carers. It represents a huge vote of confidence in the quality of our work supporting some of the most marginalised and forgotten groups of young people.
“The government is giving a very clear message that it is recognising the extraordinary work carried out by young carers and the personal sacrifices they make every day to look after their loved ones. Working with our partners, Carers Trust, we can now continue sharing expertise, listening to young people and creating innovative support programmes with young carers, which are critical for children to be able to thrive and enjoy their childhood.”
Dr Moira Fraser, Carers Trust Policy Director, said:
“We are delighted with this announcement. This funding will help us understand better how we can work with whole families to support everyone, including young carers. We need to do this because it is in working better with whole families that services can really help young carers achieve their aspirations and have more of the opportunities other children and young people can expect as a matter of course”
The young carers at the PTP celebration took an active role co-chairing the event and acting as roving reporters. They fired questions at key decision makers from local government, the voluntary sector and national government, including Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families, and Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England.
The ‘Next Steps’ programme will now continue to build on this good work and further influence professionals and key decision makers to support young carers and their entire families.