New research by the BBC and Nottingham University has revealed that the number of young carers in England is almost five times higher than previously thought.
A young carer is a person aged between 8 and 18 who cares for a parent, sibling or other family member with an illness, impairment, or disability. This can be a mental or physical illness and can include substance misuse.
According to the 2011 census, there were 166,000 young carers, however the new research has found that there are more likely to be around 800,000 children in England performing a caring role.
Carers Support Centre – Bristol and South Gloucestershire have been identifying and supporting young carers for over 20 years. The service provides one to one casework, activities and a much-needed break from their caring responsibilities.
Pamela Iyer, Young Carers Service Manager, said, ‘It is great to see young carers highlighted in this new research. Young carers all too often go unrecognised and unidentified. We hope that this new research will raise awareness of the need for high quality, focused young carers services, so that this group of young people can access the support they need.’
Keith Sinclair, Carers Support Centre Chief Executive, said, ‘This new research confirms our long-held assertion that many young carers remain ‘hidden from view ‘and that families are not in contact with, or receiving the support service they need. It is important to take a ‘whole family approach’ to support to ensure that the caring responsibilities for this group of young people are reduced so that they can enjoy the same life opportunities as their peers.’
Nicol Siewior (16), young carer from South Gloucestershire, said, ‘I was glad to see young carers get more awareness. It was nice to see an honest interview with a young carer where you can see what caring is like and that it’s not what it seems like.’