A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who helps to look after a relative who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem.
The majority of young carers look after one of their parents or care for a brother or sister. They do jobs in and around the home, such as cooking, cleaning, or helping someone to get dressed and move around.
The difference between young carers and other young people who help in the home is that young carers are often responsible for someone else in their family in a way that other young people aren’t. A young carer might also care for a grandparent or someone else from their extended family.
How do we help Young Carers?
The young carers project supports young carers 8-25 years old by working in schools and other agencies to offer advice and guidance, enabling them to have the same opportunities and life chances as other young people without the responsibility of caring.
We firstly we support the young carers themselves by offering:
- One 2 One Support - depending on level of need
- Once a month 2 hour group activities
- School "drop-ins"
- Holiday activity programmes
- Issues based workshops / life skills (self-esteem, bullying, bereavement and cooking)
- General down-time where young carers can just come, relax and chill out away from the stress of their caring responsibility
- Make referrals to other services to provide additional support
- Support young carers to move into mainstream services when caring responsibilities are no longer impacting on their lives.
Secondly we raise awareness of the daily stress and responsibility young carers take on. We provide:
- Awareness training to agencies working with young people
- Presentations and assemblies in schools to raise awareness among their peers
- Offer advice and guidance to families, around the additional support available to the whole family.
Why do Young Carers need support?
Being a young carer can affect many areas of a young person’s life, including school and college, employment, and socialising. For individuals in families, taking on inappropriate or over demanding caring roles can lead to isolation, poor health and reduced life chances, including the ability to take on paid employment.
Usually, the caring responsibilities inherited leave very little time for play and rest which is important for every young person. Caring for someone can be very stressful, no matter what age. Young carers have to adapt very quickly to the adult responsibilities which can deprive them of their youth.
DISC Darlington Young Carers
Telephone: 01325 483038
You can also view a copy of the Young Carers Action Plan 2013-16 [pdf document]