Sign our open letter calling for better support for young carers
- There are around 15,000 young carers and young adult carers who are providing over 50 hours of care a week - 3,000 of these are young carers aged five to nine.
- One in three young carers struggle to balance caring with education and research shows this has a big impact on whether we go to university, get a job or an apprenticeship.
- Young carers and young adult carers also tell us they urgently need more mental health support, with 44% ‘always’ or ‘usually’ feeling stressed as a result of their caring role.
- Many young carers find it difficult or impossible to get the support they need locally.
On Young Carers Action Day in March, we highlighted the needs of young carers and, together with them, we called on government to take action to show their support. Eight months later there has been no response. Policy makers are not listening. Young carers need that to change. Children and young people with caring responsibilities need urgent action.
Ahead of the publication of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Young and Young Adult Carers Inquiry Report, now young carers are writing an open letter to the Prime Minister, asking him to tell us what he is going to do to ensure his government responds to their needs.
Join us in making sure the voices of young carers are heard and they get the support they need. If you are a young carer or young adult carer, please add your name to the letter.
Thursday 9th November: 1163
Dear Prime Minister,
We are young carers. We are children and young people from across the country – different areas, different ages, but all helping to support our parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents and other family members who have an illness, disability or addiction. We are writing to ask you one main question – how will you show your commitment to young carers and make sure we get the support we need?
It is thought there could be as many as one million young carers across the UK – that’s around two young carers in every classroom.
There are lots of positives to being a young carer – we develop skills which will help us as we grow up, like being caring and mature. However, being a young carer can also be really hard if we don’t have the support we need. It can be extremely tough trying to balance our situation at home with keeping up with education or work, or having time to see friends. There are some really important statistics that we wanted you to be aware of:
There are around 15,000 children who are providing over 50 hours of care a week (that’s around double the amount of time we spend in school/college) – this also includes over 3,000 young carers aged 5 to 9. One in three young carers struggle to balance caring with education and research shows this has a big impact on whether we go to university, get a job or an apprenticeship – we do not think this is fair. Being a young carer can have a big impact on our physical and mental health – feeling stressed, anxious and tired.
Back in March, young carers, parents and organisations who support us wrote to you for Young Carers Action Day 2023, asking you to take urgent action to support young carers. We are really disappointed that, nearly eight months on, we have not had a reply or heard you talk about how you plan to improve support for young carers.
We are sending you this letter today because it is a landmark day – the day that the first ever parliamentary report about young and young adult carers is published. This inquiry has been run by the APPG for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers and supported by a group of young carer advisors. The inquiry heard from over 400 young carers from across the country as well as over 60 organisations such as schools, young carer services and researchers. It has shown the huge impact that being a young carer can have on our life opportunities – both now and as we get older. In particular:
- We need much better awareness (with staff and students) and support in schools. We also need more recognition of our needs from colleges, universities, training providers and eventually employers if we are to be able to achieve our ambitions and dreams
- We need more help for our mental health such as counsellors or support groups so we can talk about our caring role – it can be really stressful being a young carer
- We need quick and easy access to local support services. Being able to get help as a young carer should not depend on our postcode or what school we go to. Some of us are waiting over 6 months to get an assessment or support; others are being told they can only have support for a few weeks.
- But it’s not just about us – the people we look after need more support – so we can have time to ourselves – time to focus on our studies – time to just be us.
Young carers from all over the UK are working with Carers Trust and the Young Carers Alliance to create the first ever national covenant for young carers. We are asking for you to make sure that this national commitment to young carers becomes a reality and something which makes a real difference.
We need to know you are listening to young carers. Specifically, we’re calling on you to agree to three simple things:
- Meet with a group of young carers on Young Carers Action Day 2024, taking place on Wednesday 13th March 2024 to talk about how you plan to make sure young carers get better support.
- Work with young carers to create a plan that specifically says what you are going do to help young carers, young adult carers and our families.
- Support the development of the first UK-wide covenant for young carers and young adult carers.
Young carers should have the same opportunities in life as all children and young people. But at the moment, lots of us do not because we do not get the support we need. We are asking for your help to change this.
Alex (14), Finnlay (16), Ruby (17), Sian (17) and ...