Young Carers Awareness Day on Thursday 30 January sees a free resource becoming available to help infant schools identify and support young carers, who can be as young as four years old.
The resource is based on the story of the lives of three children – Jamila, Harry and Sarah – who have experiences that represent those of many young carers. It explains how they come to understand what it means for them and others to be a carer, as well as the importance and demands of the role.
An animated film version of the story has been produced with voices of these characters provided by three children who receive support from Caring Together’s young carers service.
Felicity, 13, who is the voice of Sarah, said she believes the resource will help young carers, “I think it will help lots of people understand what being a young carer is, and how you can cope with it.
“…having people there to talk to about it and not having to feel like you’re alone when caring really helps.”
A young carer is anyone under 18 who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.
Andy McGowan, head of carer services at Caring Together said, “With Young Carers Awareness Day held to raise awareness of the challenges faced by young carers, particularly in schools, this is the ideal time to launch this resource.
“The number of young carers aged seven or younger is growing fast and there are carers as young as four years old in schools across the country. Giving young carers the support and help they need is essential not only to their education, but also to their physical and mental health.
“The resource pack and animation make it easier for schools to identify and support young carers. Simple steps, as shown in the resource, can make all the difference.
“The work of staff at Magdalen Gates Primary School has been invaluable in helping to create a resource that is easy for staff in schools to use, and makes it fun and engaging for children in EYFS and key stage 1 to learn about young carers.”
The printed resource includes short stories, creative and craft activities, topics for discussion and colouring pages. It is free to schools in Huntingdonshire, Norfolk and Peterborough with other schools able to access a digital version from Caring Together’s website.
For more information about the resource and animation for EYFS and key stage 1 go to caringtogether.org/infant-carers
More about young carers
- There are as many as 700,000 young carers nationally.
- Young carers miss or cut short 48 days of school a year because of their caring role.
- 68% of young carers are bullied in school.
- Only half of young carers have a person in school recognising they are a carer and giving help.
- There was an 83% increase in the young carers aged five to seven in just 10 years.
- 46% of infant young carers get up in the night to care for loved ones.
- Over 80% of infant young carers are carrying out caring duties every day or most days of the week.
About the resource
This resource pack is a collaboration between Caring Together, Madgalen Gates Primary School and Gerard Roadley-Battin. Madgalen Gates Primary School have worked closely with Caring Together on developing work to identify and support young carers, including becoming one of the first schools to be awarded the Carer Friendly Tick Award.
The resource has been produced with the support of the National Lottery Community Fund and Peterborough City Council have also provided funding for making the animation and distribution of the resource amongst schools in Peterborough. The support of Cambridgeshire Community Foundation through the Cambridgeshire Young Carers Fund is enabling us to distribute the resource to schools across Huntingdonshire.