The Solihull Council Carers’ Strategy has adopted the following as a definition for carers of all ages:
“A carer is someone of any age who provides support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.”
In most families adults look after the children, but sometimes, someone in the family group has a long term illness or disability and these roles are reversed with children becoming the carer.
This group of people are known as young carers and they can be at risk of missing out many important things in life.
Help is available if you are a young carer in Solihull.
Find out if you are a young carer
Young carers are children and young people who often take on the practical and emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult, such as:
- providing personal care like dressing, washing and toileting
- carrying out housework, shopping and cooking duties not normally expected of a child their age
- dealing with finances, medication and medical emergencies, including speaking to professionals or taking the person they care for to the GP or hospital appointments
- looking after younger members of the family
Working as a young carer is a huge responsibility and a role that many people should be grateful for, not just the person you are caring for.
You can find out if you are a young carer by taking this short Am I a young carer? quiz from the Carers Trust Solihull website.
If you are a carer, you can request a carers assessment from Solihull Council.
Help for young carers in Solihull
As a young carer, concentrating on your role and responsibilities could see you miss out on important things. For example, you could find it hard to:
- get to school on time, concentrate in lessons and struggle to do your homework
- make or keep friends for long because you can’t do all the things that your friends can do
- go out and have time to yourself
- find other young carers in the same situation as you
At times, you may also find the responsibilities of caring difficult physically and emotionally, which could make you feel:
- tired and depressed
- different or lonely
- guilty, worried, frustrated and angry
As a young carer though, you may feel uncomfortable about talking about your situation. You do not have to cope on your own though.
There are many organisations that can help you continue to provide your excellent work as a carer, have some fun and get what you want out of life.
Solihull Young Carers
As a young carer you have already developed important and independent skills, earlier than many people do. You may be mature for your age and should be proud of your caring, kind and responsible role providing care and support to your loved ones.
Solihull Young Carers project is part of Carers Trust Solihull and is for young carers and young adult carers aged from 5 years old to 25 years old.
Solihull Young Carers is also there to help you in your caring role and make sure you do not miss out on life by:
- helping you complete your carers assessment and agreeing your care and support plan
- providing 1 to 1 support, information and advice
- supporting you with school life
- helping with homework
- organising local groups, activities, days out and holidays
- arranging practical help at home
- arranging breaks from caring
- making sure your voice is heard
You can also speak to somebody from Carers Trust Solihull face to face at your local Solihull Community Information and Advice Hub in Chelmsley Wood and Solihull.
Make a young carers referral
You can refer yourself to Solihull Young Carers, or refer somebody else, on the Carers Trust Solihull website.
Anyone can make a referral to Solihull Young Carers, including professionals, schools, other services and family members or friends. You can find out find out more from the:
The Children’s Society
The Children’s Society works with voluntary and statutory services through its national and local programmes to support young carers.
The Children’s Society works in all communities of the UK:
- supporting young carers
- campaigning for change
- promoting best practice with central government and local authorities
- working in partnership with social workers, teachers and healthcare professionals to provide solutions for the whole family
You can find out more about the work the Children’s Society does for young carers from the www.youngcarer.com website, including the:
Are you Young Carer Aware?
The role of young carers is a challenging one and one which many adults would not be able to perform.
To learn more about the hard work of young carers, you can take some time to study the Young Carer Aware course from Solihull Council which:
- looks at who young carers are
- shows what young carers do day to day
- hears from young carers in their own words
- gives you a sense of what life is like for many of Solihull's young carers
If you would like to find out more about the role and rights of young carers and how they can be supported you can take part in the Young Carer Aware online course where all your questions will be answered and you can:
- revisit the course as often as you wish
- take the test and get your certificate
Other help on MyLife for carers
You can also find out about:
- claiming carer benefits to help with your role
- getting out and about with you and the person you care for
- holidays for everyone whether you want a break away on your own or with the person you care for