This section contains the following information for young carers:
A Young Carer is a child or young person (aged from 5 to 25) whose life is affected by caring for at least one family member, over and above just 'helping out'. They might look after:
- Close relative(s)
Lots of children and young people help to care for a parent, or other relative for different reasons. They might care for a relative who is disabled, has an illness, mental health problem or experiences drug or alcohol related issues. The Wiltshire Handbook for Carers has some useful information for carers and you can get a copy free from your GP surgery or library or download a copy here. There is also useful information in Wiltshire’s Little Book, for children and young people on support for wellbeing and mental health.
If you are a young carer, you can sometimes forget to look after yourself. It can be hard for your friends and teachers to understand exactly what you have to do each day and why you need to do it. You may not get the chance to go out with your friends or do your homework. Caring for someone is tough – both physically and emotionally. You may skip school sometimes to try and fit everything in and you might worry a lot about things at home.
The information on this page is specifically for young carers but these pages have a lot of information for carers that you might also find useful.
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Keeping young carers and the people they care for safe
Young carers can find that caring for someone takes up a lot of their time and it can sometimes be very difficult for them to cope with everything, even when they want to and are happy to do it. You should tell someone as soon as possible if you:
- Think a child or young person is at risk of significant harm
- Are a child or young person caring for someone who you think is being abused
- Are a child or young person and the person you are caring for has aggressive behaviour towards you
- Are a child or young person and you feel under great strain or stress and are becoming worried that you may hurt the person you care for
If you are a young carer or are worried about a young carer you should contact the children's services multi agency safeguarding hub (MASH) on 0300 4560108 or, if you need help out of hours contact the emergency duty service on 0845 6070 888 or, if there is immediate danger or a child is injured, phone 999. You can also speak to someone you trust such as your family, a teacher, a doctor or an organisation that supports you. If nothing happens after this then it is important that you tell someone different.
Spurgeons Young Carers
Services for young carers in Wiltshire are provided by Spurgeons, the national children’s charity. If you (or someone you know):
- Spends the majority of their time outside of school caring for a relative
- Live in Wiltshire or are at school in Wiltshire
- Are aged between 5 and 18 years
You can access lots of different services for help and support like:
- 1 to 1 mentoring and peer support
- Getting involved in activities in your community
- Trips and activities to give you a break
- Someone to talk to, especially if someone close to you dies, and support and advice around things like self-esteem, confidence, bullying, anxiety and stress
- Extra support when you move from primary to secondary school, and when it’s time to move on from school to something else like further education, training or finding a job
- Someone to speak up for you and make sure that your views are heard and respected by the adults that are making decisions about you
If you’re a carer aged between 15-25 years you can also access adult carer support services. Spurgeons will also give you advice on the phone, and tell you about other agencies which may be able to help you. They want to make sure every young carer and adult young carer who needs support is able to access the service and that nobody is left behind.
If you feel you might need some extra help you can talk to a range of professionals, for example a teacher, a youth worker, family support worker or maybe even a social worker if you have one. They can all contact Spurgeons on your behalf. You or your parents can also contact Spurgeons yourself by phone on 01225 701820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit the Spurgeons webpage.
Community First’s young carers service, is there to help keep you safe in your caring role and can offer young carers a break and the chance to try something new, for example you could try doing the ASDAN Young Carers Award, or taking part in the Bath Philharmonic music project. They also offer support for older young carers around looking for work. For more information on individual projects you can call 01380 720671 or email email@example.com or visit the Community First Youth Action Wiltshire website.