Who are young carers?
Young carers are young people, under 18 years of age but can be as young as four and five years old, who help to look after a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem. They are often responsible for caring for their brothers or sisters.
Some start giving care at a very young age and don't really realise they're carers. Other young people become carers overnight.
What does a young carer do?
Care is individual; it takes many forms which can include:
- personal care - helping to dress or bathe the person they care for
- physical care - helping the person they care for in and out of bed
- practical care - cooking, cleaning or shopping for their family
- emotional care - talking through their concens with the cared for.
Identifying young carers
Young carers can often be identified by observing noticing any changes in these three areas:
- tired, quiet or withdrawn?
- finding it difficult to concentrate on work?
- anxious or concerned about an ill or disabled relative?
- missing school or regularly late?
- struggling to engage in extra-curricular activities or school trips?
- not handing in homework, or completing it late?
- struggling to make friendships and speak about themselves?
- being bullied about their family?
- not participating in social activities outside of school?
How many young carers are there?
In Tower Hamlets there are at least 3,300 young carers. The last census documented 166,000 young carers in the UK, however charities think the real number is 700,000- 800,000.
This suggests that across the UK as many as 1 in 5 children and young people are young carers and 1 in 12 secondary school aged children being young carers, or 2 in every class.
Supporting young carers
Young Carers Project
Our project provides young carers with a space where they can just be kids again and enjoy their childhood.
The Young Carers Project aims to provide young carers with the opportunity to take a break from the daily responsibilities of being a carer by interacting with others facing similar challenges.
As part of the project, young carers will have access to:
- weekly respite sessions
- school holiday activities
- residential breaks and day trips.
Our weekly sessions, which run every Monday and Tuesday at Hailebury Youth Centre, are split into two groups:
- Monday 4-6pm for 8-12 year olds
- Tuesday 4-6pm for 13-18 year olds.
These sessions are guided by and planning in consultation with our young people. Activities can range from arts and crafts and sports competitions to cooking courses, residentials, cinema trips.
Join the project
Speak to one of the Safeguarding Team, your school's Head of Year or any teacher you trust to arrange for any young carer to join our project contact us confidentially, telephone 07985 607 928 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bridging the gap to adulthood
Tower Hamlets Young Adult Carers Worker supports16-25 year olds in the borough to bridge the transition gap between childhood and adulthood.