Understanding young carers

“We just want to be recognised and appreciated.”

Young carer with dadMany people don’t know what it means to be a young carer, but they have told us how important it is that they are recognised and appreciated.

Thank you to all the children and young people who are looking after someone who’ve helped us put this page together.

We hope it will help you understand more about young carers, and how you can make a difference.

If you are a young carer, remember, we are here to support you, click here to learn more.

Who young carers are

Who young carers are

Any child or young person could become a young carer at any time – it could be your child, grandchild, classmate, friend, …

“A young carer is someone who helps look after a parent or sibling.”

“A young carer is just like everyone else but can have some more responsibilities.”

What young carers do

Young carer cleaning“I go to the pharmacy to pick up my dad’s medication.”

“I have to take time out of college to go with my mum to her hospital appointments.”

“A young carer might sometimes have to give medication or call 999.”

“I have to help pick mum up when she has a fall.”

“I read books to my sister, which helps calm her down.”

Young carer doing the laundry“I listen to my mum when she’s having a low day.”

“I push my brother’s wheelchair when we are out.”

Other young carers have told us how they:

  • Help the person they look after with getting dressed, washed or ready for bed.
  • Cook the dinner – for themselves and the rest of the family.
  • Take on responsibilities for household tasks like doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking for the family or shopping.
  • Feel they have done a day’s work before leaving for school.

Being a good friend to a young carer

“I wish other people understood what I do to help at home.”

Young carer - friendsBeing a young carer means that a child or young person has additional responsibilities, but they want friendships in the same way as other people their age. Here is what they have told us they want you to understand, and how you can be a good friend to a young carer:

  • Our friendship might be a bit different but young carers make good friends, we are still there we are just busy sometimes!
  • Don’t stop being our friend if we miss something because of stuff at home.
  • Check in – ask how things are going and don’t judge us.
  • Don’t leave us out or forget about us!
  • [I want] friends to understand that my life isn’t like other peoples and sometimes I have to stay home to help.
  • Include us. Don’t forget about us. It feels rubbish when friends stop trying.
  • Listen to us. Make time to have convos with us. Hear us.
  • Still invite us to parties and stuff, we might not be able to come but we still would like to know we are wanted! Just because we couldn’t make one doesn’t mean we can’t make any

Can you do more?

School children“Young carers want a future too. Don’t forget about us.”

If you work in education, health, social care or have a role in a community group, there are more ways you can ensure young carers are recognised and appreciated. Or could you donate to help us support more young carers including through providing school groups, trips and activities that give young carers a break from their caring role?

Young carers say what they benefit from includes:

  • “Support groups in schools. This helps us feel less alone and bring us together with other kids like us who know what it’s like.”
    • “We like having school groups and things to do at the group – it means I get the chance to meet up with other young carers and have fun. It might be the only chance I get that day.”
  • “Have a young carer champion in the school, someone we can talk to, who can also speak to other teachers to let them know about our situation.”
  • “The trips just make me happy. They give me a break, they make me able to breathe properly.”

Caring Together provide support, trips and activities for carers of all ages including young carers. If you want to donate or fundraise to support our work you will be helping more carers to get the support they need.

Our Carer Friendly Tick Award helps organisations show they are recognising and supporting carers where they are. Click here to find out more.