Many of Dorset’s young carers are unknown to councils and aren’t receiving the support available to them.
That’s the stark view of Krista Cartlidge, CEO of Poole-based young carer charity, MyTime.
She said: “There’s a national picture and a local picture. There are a huge number of young carers that are under the radar, so they are hidden and haven’t been registered as young carers and that’s a particular problem here”.
She was speaking at the charity’s Young Carers Awareness Day event, where 100 Dorset-based young carers attended Bournemouth’s RockReef indoor activity centre to celebrate and raise awareness of the local young carer community.
Reflecting on the issue, Mrs Cartlidge explained: “We have to do a lot of work to find these unseen carers. I worked in education for thirteen years before I joined the charity and in my time I’d never had any training around what a young carer looked like, or what behaviours I might have noticed as a teacher.
“So one of the things that we’ve been doing is working with schools to help them understand the kind of behaviours that young carers might present. What we’re trying to do is work with schools to help them understand the needs that young carers have and best support them and also still ensure that they achieve academically”.
Many young carers are going under the radar and aren’t receiving the full support available to them according to the MyTime charity and Carer Support Dorset. Are you a young carer or former young carer with an opinion on this? We’d love to know your thoughts, get in touch!
— Buzz News (@buzz_bmth) January 30, 2020
According to the CarersTrust, as many as one in five children in the UK are young carers, but only half of these have a person in their school who recognises them as a carer and supports them.
“Young carers are incredible and incredibly selfless and used to putting themselves at the end of the queue,” Mrs Cartlidge explained.
“I actually think there’s a huge amount that society can learn from these young carers because when I look and think about the level of responsibility they have I wonder if I could do that as an adult.
“A lot of them don’t want to be seen as being heroes but what they are doing is above and beyond what a child their age should be doing and it is heroic.”
Carer Support Dorset are working to tackle this issue head on and unveil hidden carers across the community by raising awareness amongst young people of what it actually means to be a young carer.
Manager, Anna Elston, said: “The difficulty is of course that a lot of young people don’t recognise themselves as carers.
“I’ve literally just got back from a school in Lyme Regis and we’ve been delivering assemblies today raising awareness of what a young carer is, what it entails and how other people can support them.
“Hopefully we’re reaching those hidden carers that may not realise or are keeping quiet because they’re ashamed. The research shows that a lot of young carers can get bullied so a lot of it can be anonymous.
“I think it’s vital because there are just so many.”
Unsupported carers area are advised to get in touch with Carer Support Dorset or CRISP for those in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area.
Here’s Krista Cartlidge discussing some of the challenges young carers can face on a day-to-day basis: