• Ayrshire Daily News

North Ayrshire Young Carers Urged to Come Forward for Support

Young carers in North Ayrshire are being urged to complete a Young Carers Statement in order to ensure that they are receiving the support they need.

Young carers make a significant contribution to supporting family members who need help due to illness, addiction, disability or old age, but carrying out caring tasks such as cooking, housework, personal care and looking after siblings can have a huge impact on a young person’s health, social life and self-confidence, as well as affecting their education.

North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership and North Ayrshire Council’s Education & Youth Employment service say there are currently over 160 young carers between the ages of eight and 18 receiving support through Unity North Ayrshire Carers Centre.

However, as some young people do not recognise what they are doing as caring – or aren’t sure where to turn for help – there may be many more who are missing out on vital support.

Young carers are often identified when education staff notice changes in a pupil, such as missing school, being unable to attend school trips, difficulty concentrating on work and being tired, depressed or anxious.

The aim of the Young Carers Statement is to identify those young people who would benefit from having support in place before their caring role begins to have a negative impact on their daily lives.

The statement is completed by having a conversation with school staff or a social worker to identify individual outcomes in each case, such as the impact being a carer has on their health and well-being, the extent that they are able and willing to provide care, whether the nature and extent of the care provided is appropriate, and any support which is needed - either for the carer or the person they care for.

Councillor Christina Larsen, North Ayrshire Council Carers Champion, said: “Being a young carer can have a huge impact on many of the things that are important while growing up.

“Education often suffers, and making friends, joining clubs or socialising can be incredibly difficult, leading to feelings of isolation and depression.

“Our young carers are amazing and play a vital role in our society, and it is crucial that we are able to support them in ways which are appropriate to their individual situation.

“That’s why it is so important for young people in a caring role to complete a Young Carers Statement, so that we can find out which types of help would benefit them, get that help in place and try to provide a balance between being a carer and being a child.”

If you are, or know of, a young carer who would benefit from completing a Young Carers Statement, please speak to a Guidance teacher or member of pastoral staff in secondary schools or head teacher in primary schools. Alternatively, you can contact North Ayrshire Carers Centre in Irvine on 01294 311333.

For more information on Young Carers Statements, visit http://www.nahscp.org/support-for-carers/young-carers/