Is your child’s school looking out for young carers?

Young Carers in Schools has just launched in Bristol and South Gloucestershire making it easier for schools to identify young carers and provide them with vital support.  It is provided by local charity Carers Support Centre and 37 schools are already signed up to this way of working. The charity wants every local school to become a member because many young carers are still unidentified and missing out on the support they need. 

Carers Support Centre works alongside schools to help make sure young carers are identified and takes a ‘whole family’ approach to ensuring that appropriate support is in place. The programme provides schools with free access to essential tools, guidance and training. The charity already helps young carers at Filton Avenue Primary School, Farfield High School and Colston’s Girls School.

There are likely to be young carers in every school and college, but many remain unidentified. In a Carers Trust survey, 39% of young carers said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role. 

Young carers are a group who rarely ‘self-identify’. This is often because the young person is unaware that they are carrying out a caring role or the family fears, when the child’s caring role comes to light, public services will intervene and they will be separated. 

Keith Sinclair, Chief Executive of Carers Support Centre, said:  “Young carers often miss out on their childhood. They can often become isolated due to caring duties, missing out on playing, seeing friends and other leisure activities. They can often miss lessons and as a result, can struggle to keep up with school work and not achieve their full potential. They can also suffer from bullying at school too, because they are seen as being different.”  

Young carers sometimes experience physical health problems too due to heavy lifting, poor nutrition and lack of sleep.

They can also suffer from mental health issues too, including stress, anxiety, low confidence and self-esteem.  

Keith Sinclair concludes, “Many young carers have no choice but to look after parents and other family members, and many take on this responsibility without a second thought. It is crucial that young carers are identified at an early stage and get the support and help they so desperately need.” 

If you would like more information on how to encourage your child’s school to sign up to Young Carers in Schools, visit www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk. 

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