Is your child a young carer?

Do they help out around the house by cooking or cleaning? Do they help someone to dress and get ready for the day? Do they look after the family budget and do the weekly food shop? Do they help to resolve upsets or breakdowns?

A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who looks after or helps to look after someone. It might be their parent, sibling or close relative. Young carers can do a multitude of things for the person they look after and therefore may sometimes struggle to balance this responsibility with everything else in their life such as commitments at school, friends and things that they enjoy.

Why is it important to recognise young carers?

Young carers sometimes don’t realise the amount of caring they are doing at home until someone else points it out. They may realise that they are a bit different from their peers at school but are not sure how to talk about it.

Sometimes, a young carer might be doing so much for their loved one that they are less able to take proper care of themselves. They may struggle with committing to school or with looking after their wellbeing. Problems can escalate such as falling behind with schoolwork or bullying, poor mental health and feelings of isolation from friends.

This is why it is really important to help young carers and their families to recognise the caring role they are doing and put support in place. This can enable young carers to live happy, healthy lives whilst still supporting their loved one.

How can we help?

At Carer Support Dorset, we can register young carers and offer them information, advice and support from our carer advisers via our helpline and email. We can signpost young carers to organisations that run support groups, respite and fun breaks for young carers. We can also signpost young carers to places that offer counselling and support through wellbeing helplines if they just need someone to talk to if they feel down.

Once a young carer is registered, they can receive our Young Carer e-newsletter which is sent every few months and has fun activities, updates and exciting information for young carers to engage with.

Young carers can also get a free carers card when they register with us! The Dorset Carers Card is a discount card that young carers can use to get money off of loads of different things. Some examples are discounted entry fees to family days out such as the Bournemouth Oceanarium, discounted rates for gym and leisure centre memberships, money off eating out, discounts at hairdressers and offers on activity centres that do paintballing and quad biking. If you want to check out all of the discounts that you can currently get, go to the carers card directory.

Young Carer assessment

By registering with Carer Support Dorset, we can refer the young person who is providing care for an assessment as to how this might affect their wellbeing. Young people are also entitled to request this assessment.

The aim of this is to look further into their ability to care for someone else, the impact of this responsibility on the young carer and will involve the whole family to help understand whether there is a need for additional support. Assessments are done by the Young Carers team at Dorset Council and if required, they will offer support for the young carer such as advocacy and/or fun breaks for them to engage in to take some pressure off.

You can find out a bit more about Young Carer assessment by chatting to one of our carer advisers on the phone contact us on 0800 368 8349.

We are here to help, so get in touch with us.