Young Carers Awareness Day takes place on Thursday 30th January this year and celebrates, recognises, and raises awareness about young carers in the UK. The focus for 2020 is getting school and compulsory education providers to do more to identify and support young carers – people under 19 providing unpaid care to a relative or someone who is ill, disabled, elderly, or misuses drugs or alcohol.
To tie in with the theme and the Carers Trust’s Count Me In campaign, we are holding a training and network event for staff from Hertfordshire schools to learn about our services and also how they can be involved in the Carers Trust Young Carers in Schools Ambassadors Project that we are part of.
We are also launching the first items of our updated publicity material – a poster and postcard – which young carers helped produce, with input from Hertfordshire County Council, which commissions us to support young carers.
The key message on them, which young carers identified is telling young carers “you are not alone.” The poster and postcard contain our contact details and information about how we support young people in a caring role such as providing activities so they can meet other young cares and have a break from caring, a discount card to save money when shopping or out and opportunities to have their say about health and other services.
The poster and postcards can be viewed or downloaded on our Young Carers Service website and in our Help us Help Carers section.
As part of the day we have also asked young carers accessing our services who their biggest supporter is. Most responses were a parent or parents, Nan or sibling, with Mum being the most popular. Other supporters included teachers, a social worker, and even books and music. Here are some of the reasons:
• “My Mum is my biggest supporter as she is encouraging and enthusiastic.”
• Grace said: “My form tutor is my best supporter because whenever I am having a bad day she asks if I'm okay or if I need to step out of the classroom for a minute. She is helpful, if I tell her something I’m struggling with she will tell my other teachers for that day, which means I don’t have to explain it to every teacher.”
Laura Green, one of the Young Carers Service Team Leaders, said: “Through our work and events such as Young Carers Awareness Day we hope to let young carers know about the help on offer to them, to show they are not alone in their caring role. We also want to improve peoples’ understanding of young carers and the impact that caring can have upon a child or young person. Providing the right support and information to young carers can help them feel physically and mentally well.”
Currently, there are 1,975 young carers in Hertfordshire or elsewhere that support someone in the county registered with us. Last year we provided one to one support to 340 young carers and their families and for about half of them our involvement helped reduce their caring role.
You can help us make a positive difference to the lives of adult and child carers by volunteering or supporting us through fundraising, such as making a donation online via our Localgiving page.
Whatever you do to mark Young Carers Awareness Day 2020, we would love to know or you can tell us about who your biggest supporter is. You can share tweets @ycherts using the hashtag #YoungCarersAwarenessDay or email
For more information about the support we provide young carers in Hertfordshire please call us on 01992 58 69 69 or look around the website.