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Posted On: 13th Aug 2014

Understanding Young Carers

Scene from animated film
An animation of the school scene
Young carer in the animated film

Understanding the challenge of managing a hectic school schedule and looking after a disabled loved one, ‘Lilly’ is helping teachers appreciate why some young carers can often struggle in class.

 

The 19-year-old from the Scottish Borders, whose real name has not been used, cares for her younger sister, who was born with fluid on the brain and has communication issues.

 

Lilly wants school staff to be more aware of pupils, who may have family-related responsibilities outside the classroom, and to help them find support if necessary.

 

‘Being a young carer has its good and bad days,’ explains Lilly.

 

‘My mum and I work as a team to make sure my sister takes her medication and that she’s comfortable.

 

‘Sometimes I don’t get much sleep at night because I have to attend to her, which can affect my school work.

 

‘I’m not complaining about my life.

 

'I love my sister and would do anything for her, but I just want people to be more understanding of our situation.’

 

With Fixers, Lilly has helped to create a film, which looks at a day in the life of a young carer.

 

The short animation shows how greater understanding could help others like her to cope with their busy lives more easily.

 

Watch Lilly’s Fixers film ‘What have you done today?’ at the top of this page.

 

She adds: ‘Hopefully it will help teachers recognise young carers earlier and therefore be more sympathetic to their circumstances.

 

‘They should know that it’s not easy for us to open up, so any kind of support is crucial.’

 

Lilly plans to send her film to local schools to be used as a training resource for teaching staff.

 

She also wants other young carers to see it and not be afraid to speak out and seek help.

 

‘It would be terrific if we could get this into as many schools as possible,’ she says.

 

‘I wouldn’t swap what I do with anyone, but being understood would mean everything.’

 

For more information and support for young carers, call NHS Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053 or visit their website.

  

Help Fix It – Share this Story!

 

See how Fixer Jake Gibbins is calling for more

support for young carers like him. Watch his film.

Author: N. Farooq

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