Britain’s ‘invisible army’ of young carers and young adult carers provide unpaid care to family members.
Of the 11m children under 18 in the UK, a quarter of these live in families where there are chronic physical or mental health problems, illness or disability. As many as 700,000 children and 250,000 young adults (aged 18-24) have unpaid caring roles within their own families. Some will provide care for more than 50 hours a week.
As well as caring for loved ones who are ill, disabled or have mental health issues or other needs, these young carers face their own challenges, such as education, employment and developing adult relationships. We want them to get the support they need.
The University is working with young carers and young adult carers to improve their quality of life. Thanks to our research, their role in society, in the UK and internationally, is increasingly being recognised. We will continue to investigate the barriers that restrict their health, well-being, development and education, and identify policies and services that empower them and work best for them and their families.
Our work is winning greater recognition for young carers, increasing support networks, and helping to reduce the amount of caring they do – giving them greater life opportunities.
In May 2013 we raised over £2,500 to support the Young Carers and Young Adult Carers project. As a result of these donations we were able to stage the UK’s first university open day dedicated to young people who care for a family member. 130 young carers and young adult carers from across the UK took part in the day, which took place on 27 June 2013.
Watch the Young Carers' Open Day film
What will your Impact be?
Your support for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers will make a genuine difference to the lives of these ‘invisible’ young people. It will help us raise awareness of the work that these young people do and inform policies and services to support them.
Your support will also help us to raise their aspirations and break down some of the barriers to further and higher education that they face.
A lot of young carers who have definitely got the ability and potential to go onto university have been denied it because of the problems in school, because of people not understanding the problems and their situation.
Alex, 19, a young carer
Schools didn’t understand that at home I didn’t have time to do homework or anything and so most lunchtimes I’d be in detention doing my homework, because when I got home I would need to make tea, do all the washing up and do all the cleaning.
Natalie, 19, a young carer
There is a real buzz among our 12-16-year-olds about going to university. Without these enthusiastic conversations which have spilled over from your day some of these young people will never have had the opportunity to even contemplate university, let alone at an age that makes it a realistic and achievable goal for them.
Rachel Woodbridge, a member of Warwickshire Young Carers, speaking about the Young Carers Open Day