When you are a young carer you’ve got a lot or responsibilities to juggle in life. Study, work, personal time and caring for a loved one in your life. Do you know about the extra support available to you?
What is a young carer?
People need care for lots of different reasons. A young carer is someone who is under 18 and who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend or loved one, who is ill, disabled, has a mental health condition or misuses drugs or alcohol. Does that sound like you?
The Carer’s Allowance
Lots of young people are acting as unpaid carers these days and may not know about the support they can receive.
What is it?
Carer’s Allowance is a payment from the government to support people who are carers. Many carers are unable to work, or can only work limited hours, due to the intensity and time demand of their caring responsibilities. Carer’s Allowance is there to help make ends meet.
How to apply
To apply for the Carer’s Allowance, you and the person you care for need to meet a set of requirements. The person you care for must be receiving one of a list of benefits, such as Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance.
You need to be 16 or over, have lived in the UK for at least 3 years as a permanent resident, and spend at least 35 hours per week on your caring duties. You must not be a student for more than 21 hours per week, and must earn less than £128 per week after tax, National Insurance, and expenses.
The Carers Trust
Help with driving lessons for young carers
As a young carer you have a lot of responsibilities and being able to drive could really help. From taking your loved one on trips that improve their quality of life to getting the shopping in, The Carers Trust may be able to support you with costs.
General financial help
The Carers Trust can help with all kinds of grants and discounts. They have one great page which covers a range of options. It’s worth your time to look through and see if any options could help you or a young carer you know.
Your wellbeing as a young carer
It’s important to take care of your own health and happiness as well as someone else’s. Do you let yourself take breaks? Have you let your GP know, so they can offer you extra support? Are you taking advantage of your local council’s carer assessment and support from your local carer service so that you are getting support with removing barriers to your own life goals as well as caring for another person? The Carers Trust offers a big list of resources and ideas to help you take care of yourself.
The Carers Trust also has mental health resources aimed directly at young carers.
Getting support as a young carer
Working with independent charities, the Carers Trust helps young carers with:
- Activities and breaks.
- Peer and community support, including young carer groups and peer mentoring schemes.
- Information, advice and guidance, including one-to-one support and age appropriate information.
- Emotional support.
- Brokerage and support planning.
- Training in subjects such as health and safety, wellbeing and life skills.
- Applying for appropriate benefits.
- Emergency planning support.
- Whole family support.
- Informing service development.
Would you like to talk to experts but also to other young carers like you? The Mix runs online group chats for any carers aged up to 25 years old, every Friday from 8-9.30pm.
Get help with e-learning courses and useful advice, and speak to other carers so that you can find support from a community that understands what you’re going through.
The Children’s Society
The Children’s Society have a nationwide programme for young carers and even a Young Carer’s Festival.
They can help with:
- Further education and employment
- Carer’s rights and creating change
- Wellbeing and mental health
- Money and bills
- Living with an alcohol dependent adult
With their help you really won’t have to feel like you are alone.
Activity: Make a list of helpful resources
You can also keep track of when you got in touch with a service and what the result was.
It’s a way to stay positive and take proactive steps even when life doesn’t fit in a tidy box.