What makes Kerry’s case unusual is that her brother is older than she is but he is severely autistic. And needs constant help. Like many young carers, Kerry, 19, from Westbury, didn’t even know she was a carer until she was 12 – it took a visit from social services to point this out.
Looking after Aidan and helping out is just normal for me. Looking after him is like looking after a toddler, says Kerry. When social services became involved with our family, my Mum was working shifts and my older brother, Dan, and I were helping to look after Aidan, but a lot of it fell to me.
I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be assessed by them at first, but they came along, asked lots of questions, and told me I was a carer. That was really weird, because to me it was just something I had always done and I never at any stage resented it.
That conversation change Kerry’s life. As a young carer she was able to enjoy breaks and activities organised by Youth Action Wiltshire’s Young Carers Service who work in partnership with CSW.
Kerry had a go at everything from cooking and conservation, to residential breaks. This all gave her time to enjoy new things and give her a break from her caring role. It also meant she was able to meet other young people in a similar position.
“That was the coolest part of all, to find there was an organisation which really valued caring and brought young carers together.”
Kerry is now studying Health and Social Care at Wiltshire College and his hoping to go to University in September.
Everything works itself out, and you can always make something positive out of a negative.