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Posted On: 22nd Jan 2016

Young Carers at University

Sophie Dishman
Fixer Sophie
Sketch from Fixers leaflet

A woman who has cared for five members of her family since she was a little girl has told Fixers of the struggle when she left home to go to university.


Sophie Dishman has looked after her grandma and grandad plus three other relatives since she was just 11 years old.


But when the opportunity came to study Journalism at the University of Sunderland, the 21-year-old was faced with the heart-wrenching decision of leaving her loved ones behind.


So with the help of Fixers, Sophie is campaigning to raise awareness of the pressures faced by young carers.


Sophie, of Sunderland, says: ‘When I moved away to university, it was a big change for me.


‘Every time the phone rang I would think something bad had happened. 


‘I think there needs to be more support for young people at university because it can be a difficult time for young carers like me.’


With Fixers, she has produced a bag with a printed checklist of responsibilities a young carer might have, sporting the slogan ‘Being a carer at uni can be a lot to carry around.’


She has also made a leaflet giving more information on the life of a young carer and what universities can do to help others in her situation.


Responsibilities can range from doing the ironing to administering medicine or managing bills.


Click the images below to see a larger version of the leaflet and bag.









Sophie says: ‘The plan for the bag came from the idea that young carers often have to think about a lot of different things at once. University work can sometimes be at the bottom of the list.


‘I hope that this will help to educate others about the difficulties many young carers experience and their need for more support.' 


Sophie is launching the project at the University of Sunderland on Friday 29th January.


She adds: ‘My message is for people to keep an eye out for others because you never know what they might be going through.


We’re not asking for special treatment; all we want is for universities to help young carers carry the load.’


To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below. 


Author: N. Farooq


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Fixers is a project of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, and featured on ITV.

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