Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP) have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issues young carers face in accessing supermarkets.
Debates and discussions around access to supermarkets for NHS workers, frontline staff, vulnerable people and their carers have been well documented since the start of lockdown almost eight weeks ago.
However, many young carers and young adult carers are still facing barriers.
Many young carers have raised a recurring issue, that they are not getting access to supermarkets at the times allocated for vulnerable shoppers.
In fact, many young carers are facing age discrimination and refusal of access into stores if a family member accompanies them.
Shopping has become a daunting task for many people across the UK, and it is disheartening to see young carers being turned away from completing a vital task for the person they care for.
One young person contacted MSYP and commented: “After waiting in the long queue, a member of staff said they were only allowing twp people into the store per family.
“After explaining I am a young carer, the staff member still couldn’t understand why there needed to be two carers.
“I had to further explain my caring responsibilities for my brother and mum before the member of staff finally allowed us in.
“This was an emotional and frustrating situation and no young carer should need to go through this.”
From being unable to access online shopping or difficulty meeting the online expenditure for online shopping, many are still being left without.
For this reason, charities and organisations – such as Carers Trust, a UK wide charity supporting the rights of carers of all ages – are working to raise awareness of the needs and duties of young carers.
#Supermarkets4Change aims to raise awareness of unpaid carers with local supermarkets and to include these young people in the protected hours set aside for vulnerable groups.
Writing to local supermarkets on behalf of their constituents, Ilse Cuthbertson, MSYP and Aaran McDonald, MSYP wrote: “We wanted to start #Supermarkets4Change as young carers and young adult carers have been approaching us due to the lack of understanding within supermarkets.
“We have learnt that this is not just an issue locally but nationally. This is an extremely important issue right now.
“We hope that supermarkets will start to understand the role that a young carer or young adult carer has.”
Similarly, in a bid to encourage young carers to be empowered to take action a template letter has been issued to help them contact their local supermarket.
Young carers can also share their experiences using the hashtag #Supermarkets4Change across social media.