Local young carer, Clayton Mushore, features in a short film which has been sent to all schools in the region. Clayton is 16 and he helps care for his older brother who has global developmental problems.
The film has been put together by local charity, Carers Support Centre, and it aims to raise awareness amongst teachers.
Carers Support Centre works with schools to help make sure young carers are identified and support is put in place to help them manage. The charity already works with 37 schools in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, including Little Mead Primary and Badock’s Wood Primary. Little Mead Primary has received a Bronze Award from Carers Support Centre for its support of young carers. The charity hopes to work with more local schools in the near future and urges schools to get in touch for a free toolkit and to find out how to also have their efforts recognised with an award.
Carers Support Centre provides specialist support to carers, including children aged eight to 18. This includes one-to-one and family support, carers’ groups, respite activities, short breaks and training.
There are likely to be young carers in every school and college, but many remain unidentified. In a Carers Trust survey, 39% said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role.
Speaking in the film, Clayton says that, “School staff need to be made aware of an individual’s situation so each young carer doesn’t have the daily stress of explaining their worries and what they have to go through every day, or why they might be late or having problems in school.”
Young carers are a group who rarely ‘self-identify’. This is often because the child is unaware that they are carrying out a caring role or the family fears, when the child’s caring role comes to light, public services will intervene and they will be separated.
Keith Sinclair, Chief Executive of Carers Support Centre, said: “Young carers miss out on their childhood. They can often become isolated due to caring duties, missing out on playing, seeing friends and other leisure activities. They can often miss lessons and as a result, can struggle to keep up with school work and not achieve their potential. They can also suffer from bullying at school.”
Young carers sometimes experience physical health problems due to heavy lifting, poor nutrition and lack of sleep. They also often suffer from mental health issues too, including stress, anxiety, low confidence and low self-esteem.
Keith Sinclair concludes, “Many young carers have no choice but to look after parents and other family members, and many take on this responsibility without a second thought. It is crucial that young carers get the support and help they so desperately need.”
You can watch the film on Youtube: https://youtu.be/HeHe5W3EUX8
Carers of any age can contact the charity for support.
CarersLine: 0117 965 2200