We believe that, with the right support, all Young Carers should have the same opportunities in life as other children, whether in education, training and employment or socially.
What is a Young Carer?
Young Carers are children who look after a friend or family member, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction. They often take on responsibilities normally expected of an adult. They can struggle to balance caring with going to school, doing homework, and making time for themselves and their friends.
- One in five schoolchildren are Young Carers.
- There are more than 10,000 Young Carers in Essex.
- Some Carers are as young as five.
- Cook and clean
- Take brothers or sisters to school
- Give medication
- Provide emotional support
- Accompany the person they care for to medical appointments.
- Help pay the bills
What is the impact of being a Young Carer?
Children often don’t realise they are a Young Carer. They are just getting on with supporting their parent, sibling or other relative or friend that couldn’t manage without their support.
“Being a Young Carer is not a choice; it’s just what we do”
Many Young Carers tell us they enjoy caring and it has taught them important life skills, but taking on adult responsibilities and worries whilst still being a child can have a significant impact. The children we work with tell us they:
- Feel isolated from their peers
- Can be bullied due to their caring role
- Miss school or fall behind with homework.
- Have less opportunity to socialise and do things other children take for granted
- Can feel stressed and anxious
- Are worried about their own future
By taking on caring responsibilities, many Young Carers are missing out on their childhoods.
“Caring isn’t just the time I’m physically spending with the people I care for; it’s also the free time I spend worrying.”
How can Action for Family Carers help?
Action for Family Carers believes that all Young Carers should:
- Be safe – including from inappropriate caring roles.
- Be well – both physically and mentally.
- Have access to regular breaks from caring and to mix socially with others.
- Have choices that aren’t limited by their caring role.
- Be able to enjoy their childhood and fulfil their potential.
“I have somebody to listen to me and I don’t worry as much”
We provide services for Young Carers aged 5 – 18 in Essex and their families so they get the support they deserve. Whether they need somebody to talk to who understands or a break from caring and the chance to meet other Young Carers.
Young Carer Clubs
Our Young Carer Club nights provide a much-needed break from caring and the chance to have fun with other Young Carers.
Young Adult Carers
The term Young Adult Carer applies to anyone between 16 and 25 whose life is in some way restricted because of the care of a person on a regular basis.
Young Carer Support Service
We provide one-to-one support sessions giving Young Carers the chance to talk in confidence to somebody who understands.
We prioritise your well-being and understand that seeking help can sometimes be challenging. That's why we are proud to offer a free and completely confidential service dedicated to providing you with the support you need. Our team of compassionate professionals are here to lend a listening ear and assist you through any difficult situation you may be facing.