Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more young people in Somerset have found themselves in a position where they need to provide care for a loved one.
Today (Tuesday, March 16) is Young Carers Actions Day, and Somerset County Council is taking the opportunity to thank the county’s young carers for their amazing work and highlight the support that is available to help them.
A young carer is anyone under the age of 18 who provides care for another person by taking on practical or emotional responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.
This can include being responsible for the household, including buying and cooking food, managing money or bills, providing physical care such as washing, bathing, and dressing someone, helping to manage medication or being relied upon to provide emotional support.
Somerset County Council’s Family Intervention Service, schools and local YMCAs offer individual and activity based support for young carers to help make sure they are not taking on inappropriate caring responsibilities that could impact on their emotional or physical health, or their educational achievement.
During the coronavirus pandemic more than 90 young carers attended online group support sessions.
Young carers have also been able to access young carer Zoom meetings, which facilitated the sharing of self-care tips, and organised themed online quizzes.
Among the groups marking Young Carers Action Day in Somerset will be the Mendip Young Carers group, who will be holding a celebration of young carers via a Zoom party.
This support for young carers can have a profound impact. One young carer who has attended Sedgemoor Young Carers group meetings said: “My confidence has grown since joining the group. Through lockdown, the Zoom group has given me something to look forward to.”
Another Sedgemoor young carer commented: “The online activities are fun, especially the scavenger hunts and bingo. It gives me a chance to do things with other young carers.”
Councillor Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council Lead Member for Children and Families said: “Somerset County Council is proud of how we have all worked together with partners across the county to support Somerset’s young carers to ensure they get the help they need.
“The measures put in place during the pandemic have helped young carers to connect with others and share their experiences, and we will continue to promote the achievements of young carers and make sure they are listened to.”
If you have any queries or questions regarding children with caring responsibilities in Somerset, email YoungCarersmailbox@somerset.gov.uk