Who are young carers?

Four young carers sit on a sofa smiling at the camera

Young carers may look after parents, care for a brother or sister, or another family member. The average age of a young carer is 12 and they take on responsibilities normally only expected of an adult.

What type of care do young carers provide?

  • shopping​
  • cleaning​
  • washing & ironing​
  • cooking​
  • washing up​
  • helping to look after siblings​
  • taking care of pets​
  • gardening​
  • managing bills/money
  • helping with medication​
  • fetching/carrying​
  • support with dressing​
  • helping to go to toilet​
  • help with washing​
  • organising appointments​
  • emotional support​
  • interpreting or signing​
  • keeping company​
  • support with eating

Young carers are known to face a variety of issues including:

  • bullying
  • having no support due to being a ‘hidden’ young carer
  • lack of understanding due to lack of awareness from peers and professionals
  • educational disadvantages such as attendance and attainment issues
  • mental and physical health problems due to caring role
  • providing inappropriate care
  • not having access to ‘normal’ childhood experiences
  • being tired and appearing withdrawn
  • lacking confidence
  • feeling worried, stressed or angry
  • isolation and loneliness

Some background stats on young carers:

According to the 2011 census, there are 1,384 young carers (children aged 5 -15) in Bristol and South Glos and 16,118 unpaid carers aged 5 to 17 years old in the South West.

Research by BBC News and Nottingham University found 22% of children provide some care for a family member with an illness or disability. Of those children, 32% were classed as doing a high level of caring, with nearly a tenth (9%) carrying out the highest amount of care.