Following extensive consultation with young carers around Wiltshire, local charity Carer Support Wiltshire will be taking their young carer service in a new direction from 1 April this year, offering more 1-2-1 support and life skill workshops.
Findings from the charity’s recent series of engagement events involving young carers around the county, showed overwhelmingly that:
- 1-2-1 support was essential in helping them manage all aspects of their caring role
- Support with developing life skills was important to many young carers
- Caring at a young age can be overwhelming so support to cope with their role was also important. That could take the form of access to mental health services, breaks from their role and peer-to-peer support
The existing Wiltshire Council-commissioned young carer service has, for several years, been subcontracted to another local charity Youth Action Wiltshire by Carer Support Wiltshire.
Youth Action Wiltshire run activities for young people, including young carers, and under their agreement with Carer Support Wiltshire they developed support plans for young carers in addition to these activities.
Carer Support Wiltshire have now taken the decision to develop a service led by young carers themselves. The new service will build on the exciting work being done with local schools through the charity’s new Young Carer Award and the support plans created by Youth Action Wiltshire, offering young carers:
- 1-2-1 support work
- Support plans for each young carer specific to their needs
- Life skills workshops
- Positive activities that give young carers a break from their caring role
Leanne Hubbard is Interim CEO of Carer Support Wiltshire. She said:
“We’d like to express our thanks to Youth Action Wiltshire for working with us for the last few years to support young carers in Wiltshire. However, having spoken extensively to young carers in the county, we now feel it’s time for a change to the support they are offered. We are really excited to be launching our new service from 1 April 2023 and being able to offer all young carers equal access to education, wellbeing services and activities.”
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “Young carers play a vital role in their own family. They have to take on responsibilities which means they do not have much time for themselves. Having a support network and a focus on what they need, alongside positive activities to give them a break from their caring role are essential and I look forward to seeing how this will work in the future.”
A recent study by Carers Trust (‘Being a Young Carer is Not a Choice’, 15 March 2023) showed that 51% of young carers and young adults carers are caring for between 20-49 hours a week whilst balancing their studies, work and lives outside of caring. Whilst many said that they felt proud to be making a positive different to someone else’s life, 44% said that they always or usually feel stressed because of being a young carer or young adult carer.
Young carers who are currently being supported by Youth Action Wiltshire will be contacted by Carer Support Wiltshire with a welcome pack shortly to explain the transition over to the new service. Information to support young carers can also be found here.