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Young carers stories in the UK

Young carer and her mother | Barnardo's

There are about 175,000 young carers in the UK who provide care or support to a family member who is disabled, physically or mentally ill, or has a substance misuse problem.

Young carers often take on a level of responsibility that is inappropriate to their age or development.

Barnardo’s supports young carers and families with various services to make it possible for a child just to be a child.

Read Rebecca's story about being a young carer in Wales

Seventeen year old Rebecca from Flintshire has been using the Barnardo’s Cymru Flintshire young carers service for six years.

She helped her mother care for her disabled father and take care of her younger sister:

I used to have to help mum with getting things for dad and making sure he was comfortable. A lot of the time I would have to look after my sister when mum was busy caring for my dad.

Rebecca used to miss out on seeing friends and going out because she was so busy helping her mum look after her dad and sister:

You don’t really realise you’re missing out on anything because it’s just what you’re used to. But I started to realise I was different a few year’s before my dad passed away when my friends were developing their social lives.

I would come home from school, do my homework and then have to help mum take dad upstairs which was always quite difficult as there were numerous tasks involved. So by the time all that was done, the night was over and it was time for bed.

Barnardo’s Cymru Flintshire young carers service helped her to enjoy her childhood through taking part in many different activities and events:

That’s one of the great things about the project, we get to go to all these different places and do so many different activities which I’ve never done before and wouldn’t have had the chance to do without them.

That’s why the young carers project is so great, it helps young carers develop another life other than the one they have at home.

Support from Barnardo's has meant that Rebecca more confident because she has had lots of new experiences and knows there is always someone to talk to if she needs advice:

My confidence has shot through the roof [...] It’s also wonderful to know you have someone to turn to. If I ever need support or need to talk to the session workers about anything I know they’ll be there.

Read more about Barnardo's work with young carers in the UK »

Related projects

Some of our stats

50 per cent of teachers believe the system in schools designed to identify and support young carers is not effective enough

72 per cent cook and clean; over 50 per cent provide general care; 20 per cent help with intimate care such as showering and toileting