Ruth: Raising the voice of young carers

My name is Ruth and I am a young carer. I am 17 and currently in my final year of high school. As a young carer I have tried my best to speak up for young carers on issues that are so important to us but that sometimes get put to the side or missed.

I feel passionate about highlighting young carers in education and the issues that they may face as it is something I have experienced first-hand. I have also seen how the needs of young carers can just be completely missed and ignored. Often not on purpose but due to lack of understanding and awareness. So, for me, I feel it is of great importance to raise this awareness.

Since January 2020, I have been part of the Young Adult Carers Advisory Group which has been a great experience as I have been able to use my voice to speak up for young carers all over Scotland. I have also taken part in the UNCRC Interim Consortium (Rights, Right Now) which has meant I have been able to learn more about my rights and talk about young carers and their rights. As well as inputting into important decisions on how we raise awareness about the UNCRC and what rights people have. In October last year, I spoke at an in-service day at my school about young carers. I spoke about who young carers are, what they do, the support they may need and why they are often hidden in schools. I received lots of positive feedback from this with a lot of teachers gaining a deeper understanding about young carers and how they can help them.

"Ruth delivered a presentation at one of our inset days in October. It was very informative and allowed us to get a real insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of young carers. My colleagues and myself were able to appreciate the often-hidden difficulties and barriers faced by young carers and see where, and how, we can support them. Ruth was well spoken and confident (no mean feat in a room of 80 teachers and school staff) and represented young carers very well. She is an excellent ambassador." Class Teacher

I think while I have seen progress begin to be made that there is still a lot that can be done in raising awareness about young carers. I think that there should be a small amount of training that teachers and school staff have to go through so that they have an understanding about young carers. I also believe to further break the stigma that there must be more awareness raised among young people. I think that young carers should be given the opportunity to learn more about the UNCRC so that they have a greater awareness of their rights in general but also the ones specifically related to being a young carer.