NYA Update: Should young people in County Durham take on caring roles?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Young people in County Durham felt that, although there is legislation for young people with caring responsibilities and services put in place to address their needs, these all appear to be based on the assumption that caring roles will and should continue.

Often young people take on a caring role for their family member because there is no-one else available or able to take on this role. If young people were given a choice, they might choose not to perform the role if their family member was being properly cared for by others.

A young people's steering group took the lead in organising the research activities, data analysis and dissemination of the research findings. The research involved agenda days (adult free spaces, facilitated by young people), during which an agenda for action is developed. In addition to this, questionnaires were circulated through local schools and other organisations that provide services for young carers.

The research findings included the need for:

  • Someone who can take over the caring role to let you have a break
  • More contacts to talk to when feeling stressed
  • Time to yourself (having a break away from caring role)
  • More help in schools such as if you are having a difficult time handing homework in due to their caring role
  • More support given by teachers
  • More trips/holidays away from caring role to relax and be stress free

Young researcher Brian Lockey said: "A lot of the young people said that they would feel uncomfortable having a stranger in the house looking after the person they care for."

Bethany Maddison is also part of the young people's steering group, she added: "Students and pupils at school can give you a lot of grief and nonsense — but they don't know and it is hard to explain what's going on. So when you get angry, and they just laugh at you, you sometimes end up taking it all inside, but you can't take it all in forever. One day it'll all just explode and you wont know what's going on, because hardly anyone realises what goes on when you are a young carer."

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