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Posted On: 11th Jun 2019

Help Us Help Them

A group of young carers in Andover
Help Us Help Them
David Slack

Growing up with caring responsibilities can be incredibly challenging.

 

A group of young carers from Andover are using their experiences to try and improve support in schools.

 

The young people feature in a video created to highlight the challenges carers face and the impact these can have on their education.

 

Eighteen-year-old Kieran explained: ‘We’re all different with different needs. It’s a big job caring for your parents. It’s not easy and at times can be very demanding.

 

‘Being a carer has affected me physically and mentally.’

 

Kieran started caring for his parents when he was 11. They both suffered from mental health problems, and his father later passed away.

 

On some days he found it hard to get to school on time, and he wouldn’t always be in the correct uniform.

 

His teachers didn’t understand and he was regularly put in to isolation for not doing his homework, being late or for being in the wrong clothes.

 

Sixteen-year-old Nikita Smith, who has been caring for her father and sisters, added: ‘My friends don’t really understand why I can’t do normal things that young people do at my age but I’m happy knowing that my dad and sisters are ok.

 

‘I want teachers to notice the challenges young carers face. There is nothing worse than knowing about the problem and not providing the support needed.'

 

 

Kieran and Nikita are not alone in their struggles. There are estimated to be 376,000 carers aged between 16 and 24 in the UK and only half of these have someone in school who recognises they are a carer and offers to help.

 

This means there are 188,000 young carers unsupported in school.

 

Many are bullied and after leaving school they are twice as likely to not be in education, employment or training (NEET).

 

David Slack, 18, was supported well at school and wants the same level of help to be offered to others.

 

‘Teachers need to see the signs and understand why some young carers are reluctant to speak out,’ he said.

 

This project was funded by the Gerald Micklem Charitable Trust.

 

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

 

Author: Lucy Tatchell

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