Young carers across Hampshire demand a fair future

13 March 2024
Our team visiting a school durng a youth roadshow

Young carers in Hampshire are calling for a fair future and demanding more support from local and national government today, 13 March, on Young Carers Action Day.

There are an estimated one million young carers in the UK. Young carers are children and young adults who look after a family member or friend who is either ill, disabled, has a mental health diagnosis or misuses drugs or alcohol.

A recent inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers found these responsibilities are having a devastating effect on their education and prospects. It revealed a shocking 15,000 UK children, including 3,000 aged just five to nine, spend at least 50 hours a week on caring.

To highlight the challenges they face, activities taking place in Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust with NHS and social care partners across Hampshire, for Young Carers Action Day include:

Young carers education sessions

Running throughout March our Patient and Public engagement team are hosting three education sessions with guest speakers about young carers for health and social care professionals in Hampshire and the IOW, with Hampshire and Southampton Children’s services and a Young Carers Group lead. These sessions will focus on the impact of being a young carer and ways health and social care professionals can support young carers within their roles.

Martha Gathercole, Young Carers Lead at Southern Health, said: “Young carers are often missed and do not get the recognition and support that they need and deserve. Throughout our work with young people, I have met many young people who identify as a young carer and they all want to be listened to and heard and for their caring role to be taken seriously by healthcare professionals.”

Martha and her team support youth roadshows in and around Hampshire, our youth board, and work closely with children and family teams within the Trust to make sure we are hearing the voices of young people.

The meaning behind Young Carers Action Day

Young Carers Action Day is an annual event organised by Carers Trust to raise awareness of the pressures placed on so many young people. This year’s theme is Fair Futures For Young Carers, highlighting how young and young adult carers are significantly less likely to undertake higher education or enter employment than their peers without a caring responsibility.

To mark the day, Carers Trust, one of our partners, and its network of organisations and young carers are launching a Young Carers Covenant, the first UK-wide commitment to young and young adult carers. Young carers and their support organisations have written to councillors and their local MPs, asking them to support the covenant. Businesses and schools are also being asked to sign up to the pledge.

As a Trust, we are continuously striving to work more effectively in partnership with carers and families and this extends to young carers. It is vital that our staff understand how they can better support and signpost young carers, and our engagement team are creating a toolkit for supporting young carers which will be live soon.




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