Young carers are children and young people, under the age of 18, who look after someone in their family who has an illness, a disability, or is affected by mental ill-health or substance misuse. They take on tasks that would normally be done by an adult.
Generally helping around the house doesn't mean that you're a young carer; they do much more, including some or all the following:
- practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping
- physical care, such as lifting, helping a parent on stairs or with physiotherapy
- personal care, such as dressing, washing, helping with toileting needs
- managing the family budget, collecting benefits and prescriptions
- administering medication
- looking after or ‘parenting’ younger brothers or sisters
- emotional support
- interpreting, due to a hearing or speech impairment or because English is not the family’s first language.
Some young carers undertake high levels of care; others carry out low levels of care frequently. Either can impact heavily on a child or young person. Usually children and young people don’t want to stop 'caring' but would welcome some extra support to manage the task of being a carer.
In recognition of this, it’s important that we provide support to our young carers to help them balance their caring with their rights to be children or young people.
How we support young carers
We give young carers extra support to make sure their caring responsibilities don't stop them from learning, staying healthy or enjoying their childhood.
We commission a Young Carers Service, provided by Barnardo's, who are based at Priory Campus. They work directly with children and young people who have a caring role in their family. By providing the right help, Barnardo’s make sure that the young person doesn’t become responsible for inappropriate caring responsibilities.
How to access Barnardo’s
If you’re a young carer and you need support, you can get in touch with Barnardo’s directly on (01226) 770619.
What Barnardo’s does
Barnardo’s works with young carers and professionals across the Barnsley area, offering information, advice, advocacy, and support. Their Young Carers Project Leaflet and Young Carers Flyer tell you all about what they do. Please note their number has changed to (01226) 770619.
If you’re a young carer, you can access the service on a one-to-one basis or through a support group. Barnardo’s will give you a break from caring and a chance to socialise with other young carers who understand your situation. They’ll help you access play and learning in your own area.
Barnardo’s will also make sure you have a voice – that you can influence how their service is delivered and help develop other services across the Children and Young People’s Trust, so that they better meet your needs and those of other young carers across the borough. You can do this through the Young Carers Council.
By working closely with young carers, Barnardo's gains a clear understanding of their needs. They can then raise the awareness of agencies and the wider community to the role of young carers and to the support they need.
Barnardo's is happy to provide information and guidance to professionals and work proactively with children's social care to recognise when caring is becoming too much for the young carer and when their family may need extra support
Barnardo’s also provides a Sibling Support Service at the Priory Family Centre. The service offers group support to brothers and sisters of children with disabilities who live in the Barnsley area.