Barnardo’s children’s charity which supports thousands of children across the UK who care for unwell or disabled relatives is proud to support Carers Week this week.
The week aims to raise awareness of the challenges that carers face and recognise the important contribution they make to their families and communities.
This Carers Week, Barnardo’s highlights the UK’s estimated 800,000 incredible young carers who can spend more than 30 hours or more each week looking after their relatives – almost the equivalent of a full-time job.
This can involve cooking, housework or shopping, or attending medical appointments as well as helping to look after their siblings, leaving little or no time to enjoy their childhood.
But far too many young carers, particularly Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) young carers, are still remaining hidden and missing out on much-needed support.
Barnardo’s latest report Caring Alone, also urges local authorities, the NHS and young carer services to employ community outreach workers to highlight the needs of young carers in BAME communities and ensure available support is accessible.
Marisa, 15, is a young carer for her mother Jacqueline, and her brother James. She gets support from the Barnardo’s Young Carer Service in Redbridge, East London, after experiencing a lot of mental anxiety due to her caring responsibilities.
“I was having breakdowns at school and there was a moment when I couldn’t stop crying. When I finally told someone it was like a weight being lifted off my shoulder, and I’m now getting support from Barnardo’s, which has made a big difference to my life.”
Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said:
“All children growing up today face challenges, but it’s even harder for young carers, who have to juggle homework and making friends with caring for unwell or disabled family members.
“Barnardo’s services help to reduce the burden of caring on children, by giving them opportunities to take a break and enjoy their childhoods.
“Our latest report highlights how BAME young carers are often ‘hidden’ from services and are even less likely to access support.
“Young carers are often proud of the support they give their families, but as a society, we must make sure this is never at the expense of their education, their wellbeing, or their future.”