Project to identify and highlight experiences of young carers in Hertfordshire is shortlisted for prestigious award
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A project to help raise the profile of young carers in Hertfordshire has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.
The Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) project, which aims to identify and direct young carers in the region to support services, was shortlisted in the Nursing Times Awards in the category of Public Health Nursing.
The project aimed to improve the ways in which young carers are identified – which is often the main barrier to young carers accessing support. According to the HCT, young carers find it difficult to make themselves known to professionals such as school nurses who can help find them emotional and physical support.
Evidence suggests on average, young carers have poorer mental and physical health than their non-caregiving peers.
HCT school nursing ran workshops at three secondary schools in different areas with a diverse demographic and age range. Around 20 young carers helped to produce a young carers’ journal which can be personalised and help young people ‘speak up’ about being a carer. An animation video was also created to show in schools talking about the challenges that young carers face.
HCT School Nurse Practice Teacher Andrea Spratling said the project had helped to raise the profile of young carers in Hertfordshire, and to help them come forward to be signposted for support.
She added: “At the start of our project there were only 22 young carers identified in primary care in Hertfordshire and the young carer's team in Herts already has a long list of children waiting to be assessed. The idea of the booklet is that it can give these young carers some support whilst they are waiting for this to happen.”
A young carer shared why it was important to them to be officially identified: “During lockdown I didn’t go out for two years as I didn’t want to give to give Covid to the person that I care for. I also found it hard to understand why I couldn’t be vaccinated straightaway as a young carer - when I was 15.”
The winners of the Nursing Times Awards will be announced in October.
Visit the project website for more information. https://www.hct.nhs.uk/young-carers