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Local charity holds events to mark Young Carer Action Day

Young carers on a rock- climbing and caving adventure with Carers’ Resource and the Experience Wild Ingleborough project last year. Photos by Stephen Garnett for Carers’ Resource.

Skipton-based Carers' Resource is putting on events as part of Young Carers Action Day, which takes place on Wednesday (15th March).

The day aims to raise awareness about young and young adult carers, the challenges they face and the support they need.

To mark the annual event this year, Carers’ Resource is arranging a ‘treasure hunt’ task on YCAD, with young carers challenged and supported to use public transport to find their way to a central Bradford location. It comes after the charity was successful in applying for a grant from Carers Trust. The aim is to reduce anxiety around using public transportation by making it fun and providing support.

Ketisha Dale, Carers’ Resource Bradford Service Manager, young carers team, said: “We are extremely pleased to have this money as travel training is not always accessible via formal or informal sources, such as from professional services or from family support.

“The activity will also hopefully raise awareness of this being an additional barrier for young carers and help them to gain independence and raise resilience.”

Also on Wednesday, there will be a pizza night event held in Craven for young carers.

Helen Prince, Head of Young Carers and Families at Carers’ Resource, commented: “Young Carers Action Day is a great opportunity to draw attention to young carers, celebrate all that they do and raise awareness about how the adults around them can make changes to support them.

With around three young carers in every school class it’s really important to raise awareness and we are grateful to Carers Trust and our local schools for all their support helping us make this a special day.”

Young carers help to look after someone because they have an illness or a disability, they experience poor mental health or they misuse alcohol or drugs.

Gabby Hands, 18, is a young adult carer in the Keighley area, who cares for both her dad, who has a long term illness, and older brother who has autism and ADHD. She said: “I make meals for my dad. I also do chores around the house like cleaning. I make sure my brother and dad take their medicines.

“When I was younger I found it harder to balance my caring responsibilities with my studies and trying to see friends. That was hard. As I’ve got older I’ve been able to balance everything better.

“I found if my dad has to go into hospital that can be really difficult as my brain can be elsewhere. He went into hospital when I was trying to focus on my GCSEs. It can be very difficult to stay focused.

"The support I’ve received from Carers’ Resource has been really good. It makes you refocus on yourself and reminds you that you’re important as well.”

The Office for National Statistics has recently published data from the 2021 census on unpaid care. The data shows that the number of young carers between the ages of 5-17 in the Bradford local authority area is 1,280, and in the Craven local authority area it is 115.

Helen added: “These latest figures from the census are likely to underestimate the scale of caring. There is a lot of research that suggests around 1 in 10 children and young people are young carers. That would mean there are really around 10,000 young carers in the Bradford district and 700 in Craven.”

This year the theme for YCAD is ‘Make Time for Young Carers’. Carers Trust survey results released this month show 51% of young carers and young adult carers in the UK are caring for between 20 and 49 hours a week. The work they do is also intensifying, with 56% saying the time they spent caring increased in the last year and 47% reporting they now care for more people than they used to. 

These hours spent caring on top of daily schoolwork and revision for exams can have a real impact on children’s health and wellbeing, sometimes leaving them feeling overwhelmed. The Carers Trust survey showed 44% of respondents said they ‘always’ or ‘usually’ feel stressed. But young carers say this doesn’t have to be the case and there are some key things that would leave them feeling healthier and happier.

Most of all, young carers need adults to make more time for them. They need professionals and responsible adults to listen to them about the challenges they face and then spend time putting the support they need in place.

Carers’ Resource provides a range of support to help young carers living in Bradford, Harrogate, Selby and Craven districts, including fun trips and activities in school holidays, youth clubs and one-to-one support. The service is designed to support young carers’ well-being and resilience, and to help them achieve their potential as successful, happy adults.

If you are a carer, or you know of a young carer, you can find out more at carersresource.org

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