In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic young carers are still fighting for support, this March they’re taking action.
On 16 March each year, young people, professionals and charities across the UK unite to mark Young Carers Action Day (YCAD), an awareness event organised by Carers Trust to highlight the contribution young carers make to their families and local communities.
“This day is all about raising public awareness of what these young people go through, not just for young carers but also for young adult carers,” highlights Nicola Bell, youth engagement officer at Carers Trust Scotland.
“We look at the experiences of young carers with things like school, but also that vital transition into adulthood for young adult carers aged 16 to 25.”
Each year the theme for the day is dictated by these young people and for 2022, YCAD is highlighting the theme ‘Taking Action on Isolation’.
“This year they told us that tackling isolation was really important because it’s a huge issue for a lot of young carers,” reveals Nicola. “They also told us about the importance of regular short breaks from their caring situation, these can be extremely beneficial and give them that time to actually just be young people.”
Armed with these calls from young carers, the charity is calling for greater respite and mental health support.
“We need more opportunities within the community for young carers and better access to mental health services because this group has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” stresses Nicola. “They’ve had to balance their education, work and caring role as well as just being a young person, so it has had a massive impact on their mental health.
“We want to see this as a priority for governments across the UK, for them to monitor young carers and what support is there.”
In order to provide better support for young carers and young adult carers, there also has to be more information for education providers and employers.
“It’s crucial that staff in educational institutions have a solid understanding of who young carers and young adult carers actually are so that if someone comes forward they can be fully supported,” shares Nicola. “The same is necessary for employers: young carers shouldn’t be further financially disadvantaged just because they have these responsibilities.”
Carers Trust networks throughout the UK will help to spread this message on YCAD by running events and activities in their local area.
“We also have huge social media engagement when it comes to the day and so young carers and anyone really can keep up with what’s going on,” enthuses Nicola. “For any young carers who aren’t connected to a service and haven’t identified themselves as young carers, we’re hopeful that off the back of this campaign and social media engagement we will be able to really support these young people to come forward and learn about the support that’s there for them.”
Get involved and share the message this YCAD using #YoungCarersActionDay on social media and by sharing your experiences.