Fair Futures for Young Carers
Young Carers Action Day is on Wednesday 13th March.
Its theme is Fair Futures for Young Carers focussing on why caring should not be a barrier to learning, earning or being able to get on in life – but for many, it is.
Carers Trusts’ 2023 Young Carers’ Survey showed ONE in THREE young carers struggle to balance caring with education, this can have a big impact on whether they can get on at school, go to university, or get a job or an apprenticeship.
Caring can massively affect their life opportunities and plans – and changes in policy, practice and investments are needed to give young carers the support and flexibility they need to thrive.
What can go wrong for young carers?
In school they can fall behind, miss classes, not have time for homework or extra activities (let alone friendships), feel tired, and physically and emotionally under pressure from their caring role.
When considering college or career choices, having to care for someone at home can really impact on a young person’s plans, limiting their options, including whether they can leave home, how far they can go, and if in fact they can go at all.
And even when in work, a lack of support or understanding can pile even more pressure on a young carer, meaning they are likely to have to quit.
What can we do in Surrey?
We want to help Surrey professionals and the public understand these issues and work with us to minimise them, helping young people get the support they need, achieving Fair Futures for all young carers in Surrey.
We can help by providing information, support, free resources and training to help you do more – whether you are a school, college or employer. And any young carers should please just come to us directly for support.
How to help
- If you work with young people in any capacity, be young-carer aware. Early identification makes a big difference to future outcomes – with the right support, the effect of caring can be minimised. Please refer them to us.
- School professional? We can advise you on best practice in identifying and supporting young carers, offering free tools and resources, training and the ‘Angel Award scheme’ that recognisees Surrey school’s excellence in young carer support. More here.
- Employers, are you aware of young adult carers working for you, can you show your support by offering appropriate flexibility and additional help? We can advise you!
- Young carers, make yourselves known to us, as well as your school/college, employer and your GP. All these groups can help and make a big difference to your life now and your future. Find more support and advice for young carers here and young adult carers (18-24) here.
- There are over 14,000 young carers in Surrey – that’s at least two in every classroom.
- Action for Carers currently supports over 2,300 of these young people.
- Over a quarter of young carers aged 11-15 regularly miss school. This can have a lasting effect on their life chances. (Children’s Society 2023)
- 44% of young carers always or usually feel stressed because of caring (Carers Trust 2023)
- 23% of young carers said that their caring role had stopped them making friends (Children’s Society 2023)
What’s happening in Surrey for Young Carers Action Day
We’re running special events for our registered young carers this YCAD, including a novel session being recorded with Surrey Hills Radio with five older young carers (16-17) sharing their experiences of making their future choices with five young carers (12-13); a group of young carers meeting the Mayor at Reigate Town Hall; and a fun event at Farnham Maltings.
We’re also working with Surrey County Council, local councils and the NHS to reach more professionals to help their awareness and understanding, including a learning session with cartoonist James Parsons reflecting on what Fair Futures means, working with one of our staff who was a young carer himself. And you’ll also see us in many Surrey Hospitals during the week – reaching out to staff and families to highlight our support.
What Surrey young carers say
Lauren, juggling education and caring (Lauren’s story)
“What tutors don’t understand is how caring affects your studies; sometimes I couldn’t make it to college for 9am as I had to help James out in the morning, or I couldn’t hand an assignment in on time, or complete homework because caring for my brother was more important.
Fortunately, I found my way to one of the college mentors. If I had to speak to tutors, I would ask him to email them for me. He arranged extra time and got me working in long lunch breaks because there was no way I could work at home.”
Sriya is in her late teens and cares for her grandparents (Sriya’s story)
“I faced some trouble when it came to balancing schoolwork with my home life. In Indian culture, it’s expected that younger members of the family should care for the elderly; this meant that my caring role was almost an obligatory part of my life and my family struggled to see how it would make completing homework any harder. I had trouble managing this balance for a while until I found out about Surrey Young Carers (part of Action for Carers Surrey) who were able to give me support, I needed to care for my grandparents and complete my work.”
Can you help?
The poster far left is suitable for schools or colleges, offering young and young adult carers support.
The poster left is for settings where professionals can see it, like staff rooms or office notice boards, reminding people about young carers and how they can help.
More about Young Carers Action Day
Young Carers Action Day is an annual event, organised each year by Carers Trust, with carers organisations across the UK taking part.
It’s a day for raising public awareness of young carers and young adult carers, the pressures and challenges they face, and the incredible contribution they make by caring for their family members and friends.
It is also a day to call for more action to support young and young adult carers and give them the extra bit of help they need to live full and healthy lives.
Young Carers Covenant
To mark Young Carers Action Day 2024, join young carers, young adult carers and Carers Trust as they launch the first ever Young Carers Covenant – a UK-wide commitment to young carers and young adult carers. The Covenant sets out what carer organisations want to see for every young carer and young adult carer. It has been put together following engagement with over 500 young carers and young adult carers and provides a framework for local and national action.
A group of young carers and young adult carers from across the UK will be leading the launch webinar taking place on the eve of Young Carers Action Day 2024 – event takes place Tuesday 12th March from 4.30-5.30pm – more info and tickets here.