Blackpool Carers Centre is delighted to be working with the BBC and Carers Trust to highlight an important story based on research by Nottingham University and the BBC, that 1 in 5 young people between the ages of 11 and 16 has a caring role.
The BBC news article below, shown on 13 September 2018, highlights these findings.
This number has significantly increased from the original 2010 BBC data of 1 in 12 school age children. This emphasises how many young people in Blackpool have been providing care to a member of their family without being identified as needing potentially vital support.
These statistics are not surprising; indeed, they are borne about by the increase in young carers accessing our service from 361 in 2016 to 1098 in 2018. However, these numbers do not signify an increase in the numbers of young people with a caring role. These children have always been there and will continue to provide invaluable support to their families. What matters is that these young carers are identified and can receive the respite and support that they need.
CEO of Blackpool Carers, Michelle Smith said:
“This research, signifies the importance of working extensively with local stakeholders including schools, medical professionals, police, voluntary partners and social care in order to identify ‘hidden’ carers and make a better life for this group of young people and their families.
Blackpool Carers Centre has a strong collaborative relationship with Blackpool Council, who provide 25% of the budget for the project. Our young carers and their families are supported by our 9 strong team of specialist workers funded by Children in Need, Big Lottery, Beaverbrooks Charitable Trust and many local donors and businesses who provide support for respite activities.”
Young people coming to the centre receive a wide variety of different assistance depending on their need and the scale of their caring role. This can be intensive 1 to 1 and family support or just some time out with a group of peers who understand their lives better than anyone else, because they are going through the same thing.
Young people are unlikely to self-identify as carers simply because they don’t know that their lives are any different from anyone else’s. They tend to be socially isolated, which means they have even fewer peers to compare themselves to. This is especially true if their relative needs care due to substance misuse or mental health ill health, because of the stigma around these conditions.
Head of Services Faye Atherton said:
“It is everyone’s responsibility to find hidden carers as they are all around us. Think of 5 young people you know and ask yourself if any of them could have a caring role and need some support.
The BBC selected Poppy and her family to be the lead of the story and we are proud that they have chosen to share their experience with so many people across the country, to help raise awareness and ultimately make a better life for our young carers.”