Published on
14 October 2020

The Duchess of Cornwall meets Barnardo’s young carers

Barnardo’s Royal Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, has met with two young carers and heard first-hand how the children’s charity is helping to strengthen young lives affected by the impact of Covid-19.

In a special visit to Clarence House on Wednesday 14 October, Marisa, 17, and Rameen, 12, who both are supported by Barnardo’s Young Carers’ Service, were given tea, refreshments and biscuits before meeting The Duchess. The meeting with The Duchess was an opportunity for her to learn how the Covid-19 pandemic had affected children and young people with caring responsibilities.

Two Barnardo's young carers at Clarence House with The Duchess of Cornwall
Marisa (front left), Rameen (front right), centre, Barnardo's Senior Support Worker Liz Horton, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall (top left)

Both Marisa and Rameen regularly use Barnardo’s Wellbeing Hub in Ilford, which provides a range of services for children and young people with disabilities and those with caring responsibilities in the London Borough of Redbridge. 

Run in partnership with Redbridge Council, the Barnardo’s service has continued to operate throughout the pandemic and provides a vital safe space where children and young people are able to enjoy fun activities, socialise and benefit from support. 

For their visit the young carers were accompanied by Barnardo’s Senior Support Worker Liz Horton from the Wellbeing Hub who told The Duchess how Marisa and Rameen were of great help to their families and were always thinking of others. 

Marisa is a young carer to her mother, Jacqueline, who has diabetes and uses a wheelchair. In February, Marisa met pop star Billie Ellish in a surprise visit to the Capital FM studios in Leicester Square, and in November last year, she was nominated for the Recorder/Rotary Young Citizen Award, following a speech she gave at Barnardo’s annual Black History Month reception. Speaking of meeting The Duchess, Marisa said:

It was great to meet The Duchess. I really enjoyed telling her about all the things I have been able to do with Barnardo’s in the past year. Barnardo’s has helped me a lot. When I come to the service for the after-school club, it means I can focus on homework. My home environment isn’t always the best place to study and the pandemic has made things harder. Coming to the hub also allows me to meet other young carers who have been going through the same thing as me. It makes me feel that I’m not alone.

Liz Horton, Barnardo’s Senior Support Worker said: “We are very grateful to The Duchess of Cornwall for taking the time to meet with our young carers.

“The past few months have been incredibly difficult for so many of our children and young people, but the staff and volunteers in our services have worked tirelessly to ensure they continue to get the support they need.”  

Last year Barnardo’s supported 3,330 young carers throughout the UK and research from the charity shows young carers undertake in excess of 30 hours of caring a week for parents and siblings, carrying out tasks including cleaning and shopping, providing intimate personal care, administering medication and managing household finances.

In February 2019, The Duchess took part in an arts and crafts session with a group of young carers and received a tour of the Wellbeing Hub’s new sensory room and music room for children and young people with disabilities.

Earlier this month, The Duchess met with the Head of Barnardo’s NI, Michele Janes, and its Assistant Director of Children’s Services, Pamela Kirk, to learn how the charity has adapted its services for children and families in Northern Ireland in response to Covid-19.