I'm a Young Carer
These young carers' stories are based on what many real young carers tell us over and over about their lives. They demonstrate what life is really like for these vulnerable and often invisible young heroes, some as young as five.
Amy, 13, cares for her mum and her brother Danny. Amy’s mum went into hospital first when she was nine, just after her brother Danny was born. Her mum has a condition which affects her immune system. Visiting her mum in hospital is scary as she never looks well and is surrounded by machines. Amy’s step dad is not at home much, so she started cleaning and doing the washing. If her mum's at home but sick, Amy may not go to school. And she doesn't let her friends know what is happening because she knows they have been hurtful to others at school who are different.
Jack is 16 years old and lives at home with his dad who struggles with alcohol. Jack takes on responsibility for the home and now they have become isolated from other family. Jack is worried about his dad and has become more and more anxious about his future and college life. He is now being helped by the local carers service, which has helped him to think about how he feels about himself, his life and his future. Jack has also been able to meet other young carers on a recent break - he has stayed in touch and they have helped him to overcome some of his feelings of isolation.
Alex, is 14 years old and a young carer who looks after her mum and cousin. Alex has been a carer for a year and it changed her life immediately. Before, she would go out with her friends but now she doesn't so much because she has to help her mum, with food, cleaning and medicine. Alex believes that the change has made a new relationship between her and her mum - "it's just different" she says. Alex also cooks dinner for her cousin who is also poorly and so is getting support from a local young carers service. "I'd like to meet more young people like me", she tells us.
Emily is six and known as an infant carer. She lives alone with her mum who has heart problems. She helps her mum with her personal care as well as doing some cleaning, washing and carrying shopping bags. She is scared about her mum's health and sits with her a lot of the time. Two years ago, after her Nan died, Emily became more and more isolated. She didn’t talk much or play with other children and had been wetting the bed. Her teacher helped her get support from the local carers service. Now she is getting help with bereavement counselling and a short family break.
Although these stories are only representative, they touch on the hard work, loneliness and responsibility that impact the lives of as many as 700,000 children and young people across the UK.
This short video will give you a further insight into the lives of young carers. If you're a young carer or know someone who is please encourage them to get guidance and support.
The idea for the animation came from Meg, an NHS England Health Champion, whilst attending one of their residential sessions.