Young carers and their supporters across the Bay are preparing for a day of action next week (starts March 16th) to raise awareness and tackle isolation.
Young Carers Action Day takes place nationally on Wednesday, March 16th and marks the start of a week-long information roadshow planned in Torbay schools and colleges to ensure young carers’ issues are understood and identified.
The Children’s Society estimates that there are around 800,000 Young Carers under 18 caring for an adult or family member in the UK, and of those aged 11-15, 27% miss or have difficulties at school due to their caring responsibilities.
These statistics mean that there will be at least 1,380 Young Carers under 18 in Torbay, and more than 500 Young Adult carers, who as well as going to work, school or college also look after a parent or loved one, which can lead to isolation and loneliness.
Torbay Youth Trust runs the Young Carers Service on behalf of Torbay Children’s Services, and are responsible for assessing the potentially serious impact of a caring role on a young person’s life.
They work closely with schools, colleges and the Young Adult Carers Service raising awareness of young carers issues and creating opportunities for them to thrive, have much needed fun and find companionship outside their caring role.
Katie Chivers, a young carer, has been part of the Torbay Youth Trust Young Leaders group and was also taken on as the Trust’s first Young Worker in their commitment to create employment opportunities for young people.
Katie said: “The young carers service has always been there for me on my darkest days but have also lifted me up on my happiest. They are a group of amazing people with the kindest hearts and are always there to offer a helping hand.
“The activities offer great opportunities to learn new skills and make lots of friends. I’ve formed friendships that will last a lifetime with people who understand what I’m going through and learned skills I wouldn’t have learned. I will forever be grateful for what they have done for me and my family.”
The Torbay Youth Trust has just celebrated the end of its second year and the team have been looking back at the impact of Covid 19 on their first two years.
Jo Morrell, Torbay Youth Trust Director: “Little did we know when we opened our doors on the 1st of February 2020 that the world was about to turn upside down a few weeks later. We are so proud of how our team have kept essential contact with young carers’ families and young people through very difficult times.”
Angela Poole, Young Carers Schools Worker: “We made contact with more than 300 families within the first two months of the first lockdown. This contact was very important as quite often they had no other outside support. Our priority was to contact the young carers’ families where there were known medical needs and where they had only one parent at home.
“We then moved on to others who were known to us due to disability or mental ill health or were sibling carers – again, focussing on lone parent/carer home situations, because if their parent became unwell the young carer would have to deal with it. Contact was maintained throughout this critical time to ensure health was checked on and families had enough food, medicines etc. Families had my number and my phone stayed on 24/7.”
Angela and Katie will be part of the roadshow team out in force, increasing understanding, during the week of Young Carers Action Day which starts with an event at South Devon College on the first day.
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