It’s Young Carers Action Day on 16 March and Carer Support Dorset are raising awareness and reaching out to young people looking after someone with a new video thanks to funding from Carers Trust.

Young Carers Action Day is an annual event raising public awareness of young carers and young adult carers, the pressures and challenges they face, and the incredible contribution they make by caring for their family members and friends. The theme for 2022 is Action on Loneliness.

The new video aims to encourage young carers and young adult carers to seek support from someone at their school or college, their doctor, or someone they trust in order to help reduce their isolation and get support.

Across the UK, thousands of young people look after a family member, partner or friend who couldn’t otherwise manage without them. From helping with practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping; to physical care, such as helping someone out of bed, and emotional support, young carers can find that looking after someone takes up a lot of their time. Like Phoebe, who looks after her mum, Heidi, who has cerebral palsy which is a condition that affect a person’s movement and ability to maintain balance and posture. Heidi also struggles with anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

She said: ‘I help my Mum with cooking and help around the house. A lot of the support I give my mum is around making sure she is okay and giving her hugs. One thing I do worry about is feeling like something bad has happened at home when I’m not there, like Mum falling over and hurting herself. As soon as school is over, I call her to check in, and then rush back to get home to be with her.’

‘I find it hard with school sometimes, sometimes I’m late because of looking after Mum and I get in trouble. Some people at school are supportive but I feel like I can’t really tell everyone because they don’t understand.”

Councillor Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Cabinet Member for Education, Children & Early Help, said: “I’d like to thank all our young carers, whose care and dedication should be recognised and celebrated, they are truly fantastic in their commitment to others.

“I know many young people juggle busy lives and being a carers can be both demanding and at times isolating. It is so important that we acknowledge these pressures, but also look at how we can provide support, ensuring that all our young carers are encouraged to find someone they can talk to and they feel supported and cared about themselves.”

New findings from Carers Trust young carers and young adult carers survey found that ‘at least a third of respondents said their caring role resulted in them either ‘always’ or ‘usually’ feeling ‘worried’ (36%), ‘lonely’ (33%) or ‘stressed’ (42%)’. The same survey found that 40% of young carers and young adult carers said they ‘never’ or ‘not often’ had someone to talk to at school about being a young carer.

A new short video has been sent out to schools and colleges in Dorset:

Phoebe’s advice to other young carers is: ‘Don’t ever let your worries get you down. Be happy with who you are and what you do. Talk to friends who listen and talk to someone that you trust at your school. Every young carer should be proud of what they do!’

You can find information about Young Carers Action Day through #YoungCarersActionDay on social media. Carer Support Dorset has lots of information for younger carers, parents and professionals on their dedicated website