Young Carers

Since it was formed in 2000, the Charity has provided support to adult carers and over this period there has been a growing awareness of the lack of local support services for young people who are caring for a family member and struggling with little or no assistance.   Young carers don’t always recognise themselves as being carers and are often hidden from the services that are available to help them.  A young carer can benefit from the caring contribution they make, as this provides them with personal skills and an important role in the family, which enables them to demonstrate their commitment and affection.   However, the demands of caring can also be onerous and may have an adverse impact on a young carers’ health and general wellbeing.   Many young carers find difficulty in achieving their full potential in educational attainment and often find themselves socially excluded from the wider community because of the time commitment involved.    The caring responsibilities can also impact on a young person’s mental, physical and emotional health, with high levels of stress and worry.   All of this can deny a young person their rights and compromise their safety.

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Affects young carers’ future prospects              Can leave young carers isolated and alone

Early intervention is necessary to prevent this.   By identifying, assessing and supporting young carers, agencies and practitioners can relieve them of inappropriate caring roles and enable them to be children and young people, first and foremost.   Adequate and timely support enhances young carers’ opportunities to become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.

The Scottish Government’s Young Carers Strategy 2010-14:  “Getting it Right for Young Carers” – acknowledges the particular needs of young people in this situation and recognises the importance of relieving them of inappropriate caring responsibilities.

In 2010, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers published a report titled “Mapping of Services to Young Carers in Scotland,” which indicated there were 1,117 young carers in Argyll and Bute and this translates into 380 young carers living in the Helensburgh and Lomond area.   It was estimated that only 5% of young carers have been identified by statutory agencies and were receiving some form of support.

 What is the definition of a young carer?

A ‘young carer’ is defined as ‘a child or young person under the age of 18 who has a significant role in looking after someone who is experiencing illness or disability, which would normally be undertaken by an adult.’   However the Young Carer’s Initiative in Helensburgh work with young carers between the ages of 5 and 24.

If you know of a Young Carer as above the Young Carers referral form  is attached for completion and forwarding by e mail.  This must be with the consent of the family.  Young Carers Referral Form

During 2011/12, the Charity prepared and submitted an application to the BIG Lottery – Investing In Communities Supporting 21st Century Life Fund to help meet the costs of establishing a Young Carers Initiative for Helensburgh and Lomond.

This included the cost of two additional members of staff to undertake the roles of Young Carers Development Co-ordinator and Young Carers Support Worker.   The bid was successful and the recruitment process was carried out in March 2012.   April Walker was the successful candidate for the Co-ordinator’s post and Sharon Richardson secured the Support Worker post and both took up the positions on 23 April 2012.

This page will be updated shortly, but in the meantime if you wish to find out more about our plans, please telephone April or Sharon on 01436 670555.