Last week was national Carers Week, highlighting the challenges faced by those caring for loved ones and recognising the enormous contribution carers make to their families and communities.
But not all carers are adults – there are about 700,000 under 18-year-olds with caring responsibilities in the UK.
This can include providing practical support, personal care and/or emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, frail, disabled or misuses alcohol or substances
Being a carer can have a real impact on young people’s lives. A fifth of young carers will miss school because of their caring role and a quarter have been bullied at school.
Herts County Council and its partner organisations support young carers and their families through Families First, the collective name for Early Help Services in Herts.
Support may include home visits; the chance to meet other young carers in a similar situation; the chance to have a break and some fun with other young carers by taking part in trips and group activities; the chance to talk to a mentor about things that affect them and get support; and support through big changes in life, like moving to secondary school or choosing GCSE subject options.
Executive member for children’s services, Teresa Heritage, said: “We work with a range of organisations to identify and provide the support that young people and individual families need, however sometimes young carers don’t feel confident in asking for help and so we want them to know that they’re not alone and we would encourage anyone with caring responsibilities to contact us so we can help or support in some way.”
Call the Families First Young Carers Team on 0300 123 4043 or visit www.hertforshire.gov.uk/familiesfirst