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Barnardo's Action with Young Carers

Barnardo;s Action with Young Carers Project was set up to support young carers living in Liverpool. Young carers are children and young people under the age of 18 years who provide care to another family member who has a physical illness/disability including mental ill health, sensory disability or has a problematic use of drugs or alcohol.

The level of care they provide would usually be undertaken by an adult and as a result this has a significant impact on their normal childhood.

Young carers often do not think of themselves as carers, and are not recognised as such by other people like friends, teachers, doctors and other family members.

Young carers can be Boys or girls and come from any ethnic background of culture.

Many young carers undertake a wide range of domestic tasks and responsibilities as well as having to provide nursing care, personal care and emotional support.

The effect this can have upon the young person’s life often goes unrecognised by professionals and families alike, and yet the consequences of missing out on childhood can be very far reaching. Many young carers experience difficulties with their education, and struggle to enjoy opportunities to relax with friends.

The situation is made worse by the fact that most young carers feel unable to discuss their problems with friends or other adults, through loyalty and fear of the consequences.

What young carers say about how caring affects them:

"I care for my mum who uses a wheelchair. Sometimes I stay off school to look after her and take my brother to school."

"I don’t go out with friends much because it means leaving mum on her own in the house."

"Sometimes I feel lonely, that I am the only one and nobody understands."

"I give my mum her tea and tablets in the morning. I get upset when she is sad and don’t want to leave her."

"Everyone in my class is going away on a trip for the weekend with school. I can’t go because I need to stay with my dad."

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