We at Caring Together and Centre 33 have launched a challenge to make sure every young carer in Cambridgeshire has someone they can talk to in school and knows what support is available to help them.
Many children and young people play a vital but demanding role in helping to look after a family member because of an illness, disability, or addiction. Too often their role is not known, and this means the impact of their caring role is not understood and they do not have the essential support they need.
From spring 2023, for the first-time, young carers are going to be included on the school census return.
This will provide a better picture of the number of young carers in schools, help the impact of being a young carer to be understood, and potentially increase the support on offer to young carers.
By the end of the academic year 2022-23 we and Centre 33 would like as many schools as possible in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to:
- Attend training sessions being specifically run to help schools understand more about having a young carers champion, and this role
- Have a view to their school having a champion in place by the end of the academic year
Miriam Martin, chief executive of Caring Together said, “Being a young carer can be hugely demanding. Too many children and young people are carers without their school or others knowing. Our own survey earlier this year found that young carers were caring for an average of three years before being supported, some as long as ten.
“It is vital that young carers are identified at the earliest opportunity and that every young carer can get the support they need when they need it.
“Through the work of Centre 33 and Caring Together, over 300 schools across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk have a young carers champion so that young carers in the school knows there is a trusted adult they can talk to if they are in need of support.
“A number of these schools also have a young carers’ agreement, policy or statement so that young carers and parents know what help is available if young carers need it.
“We now are asking for help to ensure that this is the case for every young carer in every school”
Kate Rees, Director of Services at Centre 33 said, “Centre 33 has long standing relationships with many local schools across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. We have seen first-hand the enormous impact that young carer supportive schools can have on reducing the significant impact caring can have on young people.
“We want to ensure that all schools are committed to creating safe environments, where staff can confidently identify young carers early and have the tools and resources needed to provide ongoing support.
“Centre 33 proudly work across several schools to provide training and continued support to over 230 young carers champions, so that local young carers have easy access to support in their school. We want this to be the same for every young carer, in every school and we need your help to make that happen!”
Centre 33 and Caring Together also have support and resources available to help schools with identifying young carers in the school census and joining the Young Carers Challenge.