Fair Futures for Young Carers – Young Carers Action Day 2024

This year, the focus was on Fair Futures for Young Carers to highlight how young and young adult carers are significantly less likely to undertake higher education or enter employment than their peers without a caring responsibility.

One in three young carers struggle to balance caring with education, missing out on opportunities to learn, earn, and thrive. Every young carer should have the chance to fulfil their potential.  Being a young carer shouldn’t be a barrier to a young person’s dreams. It should be a stepping stone to a brighter future. 

For this year’s YCAD, our Young Carers Voice (YCV) group delivered a fun day event at the Armadillo Youth Cafe in Yate.

At the event, they brought together young carers from Abbeywood, John Cabot Academy, Brimsham Green, Digitech, and Sir Bernard Lovell as well as YCV members from St Brendans College, Downend School, City of Bristol College, Marlwood.

The day included a wide variety of relevant workshops and stalls where young carers engaged in hands-on activities from fields of work, including paramedics, banking, science and the arts. 

Workshop facilitators also shared an overview of what their job involves, how they got there, what barriers they had to overcome and what they most enjoy about the work. The key message we hope carers took home from this day was to develop their dreams and be confident in pursuing them.

There are estimated to be over one million young carers across the UK; that equates to two Young carers per school class of 30. That means there could be as many as 10,000 young carers across Bristol and South Gloucestershire, most of which are currently hidden. We want to ensure that we identify and support Young Carers.  

To that end, in the run-up to YCAD, we worked with North Bristol Trust (NBT) at Southmead Hospital to improve the identification and support of Young Carers.

As part of that work, on YCAD, NBT announced their commitment to the new National Young Carers Covenant from the Carers Trust.  

On 15 February, we arranged for five inspiring Young Carers, part of YCV, supported by e-Carers Support Centre, to visit Southmead Hospital. At the visit, the Young Carers undertook the 15-step challenge in three wards. The 15-step challenge is a valuable tool for patients, carers and young carers to feedback about how the experience of hospital could be improved. 

From the 15-step challenge, some of the positive feedback from our Young Carers included:

  • staff being welcoming
  • welcome posters being displayed in different languages
  • wards feeling clean and warm.

Some areas for improvement identified included:

  • not having any reference to or information on display about young carers
  • , the experience of staff who were not aware of who a young carer could be.   

NBT is already taking action to improve things for Young Carers, already enacting some of the easier changes that are needed. The changes that require more planning and work will be tracked in an action plan monitored in the NBT Carers Strategy Group. As part of the work, NBT is committed to regularly updating the Young Carers, inviting them back to check and challenge the change.  

We hope this partnership with NBT can make a real difference in Young Carers’ experience of NBT.  

Take a look at Carers Trust’s series of inspiring films released for YCAD featuring young carers and young adult carers. They talk openly about the challenges they face at school and college, as well as when they enter the workplace. And they tell us what a fair future looks like for them.

You can also hear from employers and education professionals. Teachers describe how supporting young carers at school makes all the difference in helping them juggle their caring role with learning and schoolwork, and a manager in an innovative Civil Service partnership with Carers Trust reveals how young adult carers can bring unique skills and attributes into the workplace.