Disabled father with his little daughter

Recognising young carers on Young Carers Action Day

Young Carers Action Day is an annual event dedicated to raising awareness of young carers and the incredible contribution they make to their families and local communities. In advance of Young Carers Action Day, which will be held on 16 March this year, we have put together some information about the day.

Carers have never been more vital than they are now during the lockdown brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Their work is unpaid, invisible, and yet essential. And Covid is presenting them with added challenges. 

So a day that recognises their work and helps to support them is much needed. Young carers in particular face huge challenges as their own development has to run alongside caring for a family member or a friend. The BBC estimates there are about 700,000 young carers in the UK. 

Young carers miss an average of 48 days of school because of their role and 68% have been bullied at some point directly because of having to care for someone. Young carers often do more chores than other children would and it can be hard for their friends to understand their extra responsibilities.

Carers Trust set up Young Carers Awareness Day to make the public more aware of young carers – who they are, what they do, the very real challenges they face, and why they need support. Following feedback, the Trust updated the name of this day to Young Carers Action Day so it can include young adult carers. 

Young Carers Action Day

Young Carers Action Day is an annual event that has taken place over the last six years to raise awareness of young carers and the incredible contribution they make to their families and local communities.

Young Carers Action Day will be held this year on 16 March 2021. It used to be held in late January but it was thought moving it further away from Christmas would give the action day as much focus as possible. 

Protecting young carers’ futures

The young and young adult carers told Carers Trust they wanted the day to be about their futures, highlighting the incredible skills they have developed through being a carer such as resilience, time-management, and empathy.

These are all important skills, not just for young people moving into higher education but also for those looking to enter the workplace. These skills are highly sought after by employers.

Hence the theme of this year’s Young Carers Action Day is: Protect Young Carers’ Futures. The message from this year’s action day is young and young adult carers have amazing skills, but governments need to do more so young carers’ skills count and are recognised. 

Different caring roles

Young carers face different challenges from other carers as they are still growing and developing themselves. They may be caring for a sibling or a parent. Or another family member or a friend. They may be helping others to care or have a sole caring role. 

If they are caring for a parent it can feel to the young carer like a role reversal where the child has to parent the adult. This can be very challenging for the person being cared for as well as the carer. 

Challenges for young carers 

With sibling care there are different challenges. But whoever the young carer is looking after they usually have not chosen the role. They’ve been born into it, or it has occurred during their childhood or young adulthood. Unlike a spousal carer who makes a pledge to be with someone “in sickness and in health” even if they don’t take that specific wedding vow it is still an accepted part of entering a long-term relationship.

A young carer hasn’t made that pledge. This needs to be understood when helping young carers. Many will find the role enjoyable and deeply rewarding. But not entering it out of choice is one of the key differences between young and adult carers. 

Asking for help

It’s vital that young carers are encouraged to seek help for themselves and take care of their own health as well as the person or people they are caring for. As with adult carers, it’s easy to forget that a carer needs caring too. This is why Young Carers Action Day is so vital in recognising the unique needs of young carers and encouraging them to reach out for help when they need it.

Mobility support with the Motability Scheme

The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to get mobile by exchanging their higher rate mobility allowance to lease a new car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair. Because lots of Scheme customers don’t drive, the lease includes insurance for up to three named drivers so the Motability Scheme car could be driven by a family member, friend or carer, it doesn’t have to be the disabled customer. Therefore, as a carer, the Scheme can help by allowing you to become a named driver, for the person in receipt of the mobility allowance and if you are an appointee you can join the Scheme on their behalf. Find out if the person you care for can join the Scheme with our eligibility checker.

If you care for someone with a disability, you might find this information useful

Want to know more?

If you’d like to know more about the Scheme, request a free information pack and we’ll send you all the information that you need.

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