Gloucestershire Young Carers is proud to have been supporting young people in caring roles as a charity for more than 25 years. We started out bringing 4 young people together to share their experiences and now, today, we support more than 1100 young carers directly and hundreds more through our partnerships with health, social care and education.
A young carer is usually perceived to be a child from 8 years old through to a young adult of 24 who supports a family member who is ill, disabled, experiencing mental ill health or who is affected by substance misuse. This may mean distributing medication and attending to medical needs; it may mean the young person is taking on the adult-sized roles of dealing with finances, doing shopping or caring for siblings, or providing emotional support to the person they care for. Young carers are more likely to miss school, fall asleep in school or experience their own health and wellbeing as being affected.
Perhaps they stayed up all night with their mum who was suffering from an anxiety attack; perhaps they have been moved around relatives while their parents spend time in hospital with their brother or sister. Perhaps they are the lone carer in their family for someone with substance misuse issues.
Whatever their experiences, our charity supports them to aspire and achieve in spite of their challenges and we do this in many ways.
Firstly, whatever your perception of society and the support available, it is very different to how it once was. Referrals may come from a range of agencies or from the family themselves.. Our team members carry out an assessment of how caring is affecting the child or young person – through funding provided by Gloucestershire County Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group (health and social care budgets). Once we have assessed a young person then a plan of action is put in place. We then offer support services that range from one on one support, liaison with school, GPs or other agencies, counselling based groups for young people who have mental ill health and/or substance misuse in the family and groups where the young people can go to take a break from their caring role. We also run trips and activities. Our fundraising allows us to offer a greater range of opportunities to young carers. We believe that every child should enjoy their childhood and every young person should have the opportunity to aspire and achieve.
We can’t do this work without help of course. We work with local health, social care and educational agencies but we also depend on the involvement and support of local community groups. Volunteers are vital to our charity – from working in those youth groups to supporting our fundraising. And, of course, companies like Lansdown often choose to support us through their CSR.
We fully appreciate the support we receive to support the ‘young’ in young carer.
For more information please visit http://www.glosyoungcarers.org.uk/