West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP) are proud to be supporting Young Carers Awareness Day, which takes place on Thursday (30 January).
There are an estimated 260,000 carers living across West Yorkshire and Harrogate in Bradford, Airedale and Craven; Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.
This number includes thousands of young carers taking on a caring role from as early as five years old, helping to look after someone in their family who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol. Caring for someone can be isolating, worrying and stressful. For young carers, this can negatively impact on their experiences and outcomes in education, having a lasting effect on their life chance.
According to Carers Trust, as many as one in five secondary school children may be a young carer. A survey also by Carers Trust found that 26% of young carers have been bullied at school because of their role – with 1 in 20 missing school as a result. 1 in 3 report having a mental health problem. An average of 48 school days are missed or cut short as a direct result of a young person’s caring role. A further 23% of young carers felt their caring role had prevented them from making friends.
Support for carers is a WY&H HCP priority. Supporting young carers is one of four of the carer programme areas; the others are primary care, workforce, and acute hospital care.
Practical steps to identify and help young carers includes organising events to show young carers how their skills can be transferred into exciting and varied roles in the health and care sector – the events are supported by role models from across the Partnership and local businesses.
Karen Jackson and Richard Parry, co-chairs of the WY&H HCP award winning programme for unpaid carers said: ‘We are determined to improve the outcomes for young carers, we have identified one of the main barriers is raising awareness for young carers; reminding people they exist, and letting young carers know that it’s okay to ask for help. Failing to receive much needed support can result in lack of confidence, low self-esteem and in some cases depression or mental health problems – areas of concern we very clearly want to address’.
Rob Webster, CEO Lead for WY&H HCP said: ‘Young carers are amazing people. They have to juggle caring responsibilities with school and their social development. This can put them under tremendous pressure. I want them to know that we cannot do without them and that we recognise the incredible work they carry out day after day. I also want them to know they have invaluable transferable skills gained through lived experience and that we are here to help. We have developed a priority programme of work for young carers, which includes making sure they know that they are a carer and developing special career workshops across West Yorkshire and Harrogate’.
Sue Rumbold WY&H Programme Director for Children and Families said: ‘Caring responsibilities can have a huge impact on the lives of children and young people, we are working with the carers programme to understand how this affects them and how we can provide the best support. We will also be raising awareness of the needs of young carers with schools and settings where children learn to ensure there is the right support and reasonable adjustment in place for them. We want to acknowledge the amazing role young carers play and the contribution they make to supporting and caring for their loved ones.’
To help raise awareness on the day, WY&H HCP is being supported by local carer organisations, young carers, and celebrities, including Faye Tozer (from Steps and Strictly Come Dancing); Paul Chuckle; Billy Pearce; Stevie Ward from Leeds Rhinos and England Rugby League Player.
To find out more about West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership visit www.wyhpartnership.co.uk/our-priorities/unpaid-carers