To coincide with this year’s Carers Week, Carer Support Wiltshire is launching YACbook, a new website and online community dedicated to young adult carers.
YACbook will feature advice and links for support specifically for 18-25 year olds looking after a loved one. Along with regular content on topics such as mental health and education, as the website develops and grows there will also be the opportunity to interact and connect with others online.
“YACbook will make it so much easier to find information and get support. Letting carers know what support is out there for them is also going to be so useful,” says Damion Goulding, 21 from Trowbridge who looks after his mum, dad and helps out with his grandma.
The launch of YACbook during Carers Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of unpaid carers across the UK, links in with this year’s theme of staying ‘Healthy and Connected’. With research from the BBC finding that 52% of young adults prefer to access information online, YACbook’s goal is not only to be a resource for knowledge and advice for young adult carers, but also as a way to reach out and connect with others in a similar situation.
There are around 2,700 unpaid young adult carers across Wiltshire alone, yet many of them are unaware of the support available to them. The word ‘carer’ is often something young adults find hard to connect with or identify as, since looking after someone close to them is just something they do without question or need for a label.
YACbook aims to break down these barriers and reach out to more young adult carers, linking into the work Carer Support Wiltshire already does. Andrea James, young adult carer support worker, is a familiar face around colleges across the county, raising awareness of caring, Carer Support Wiltshire, and providing a point of contact for students who may be carers.
Kerron Limb, 18 from Chippenham cares for his mum, who suffers with mental health issues and physical disabilities, and her partner, who also has a physical disability. With a love for animals and the outdoors, Kerran enrolled on an Animal Management and Care Diploma course at Lackham College, but despite his love of the course, Kerran began to struggle. The demands of his studies and the physical and emotional demands of his caring role soon became too much and he feared he would have to find employment after college rather than continuing his studies at university.
And Kerran, pictured is not alone. Recent research from Carers Trust found that 56% of young adult carers in college or university said they were struggling to juggle both education and their caring role, whilst 17% feared they would have to drop out because of it.
But for Kerron, having Andrea and Carer Support Wiltshire step in and provide 1-1 support has given him the confidence and tools to decide to continue his studies,
“I honestly wouldn’t have done it without them helping me.”
Kerron has now been offered a place on an Animal Science and Management Foundation course, and is looking forward to the future. He spoke about the launch of YACbook, saying
“The internet is where I get most of my information, and having links to events will be great to actually meet people and feel connected.”
Georgia Stone, Young Adult Carer Digital Communications Officer is all set for the launch of YACbook on Monday 11th June. “This is just the beginning of Carer Support Wiltshire’s efforts to expand their outreach and young adult carer support, raising awareness of young adult carers and the difficulties they face, being a helping hand for young adult carers to achieve their goals and dreams.”
If you are a young person looking after or helping to look after a loved one, Carer Support Wiltshire can help with information, support and advice. Find out more at www.yacbook.co.uk or ring the team on 0800 181 4118.