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Young carers thanked, praised and further support urged during Newcastle City Council debate

February 8, 2021 3:07 PM

Christine Morrissey canvassingCllr Christine Morrissey spoke at the Council meeting on a Liberal Democrats' motion on carers. She said:

"Young carers are those classified as being under the age of 18 and there is

no funding allowance at all for them. This is an anomaly which should be

Addressed. If a 14 or 16 year old carer is providing the same care as an 18

why are they not receiving financial remuneration? Surely this is an

anomaly to be included in the reform of Health & Social Care provision

we have been promised

Young carers on a daily basis are helping to look after a

relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol

problem.

Young carers often look after a parent but in many situations that

also means caring for siblings - both younger and older than themselves.

They often do chores such as shopping, preparing meals, cooking,

cleaning and washing and ironing clothes. However, there are young

carers who have to help someone get dressed and undressed, support the

parent with mobility issues to move around and take medication.

On occasions they may also have to help with personal and intimate care.

Along with doing these physical things they are very often offering

emotional support to parents and siblings.

Many young carers start giving care at a very young age and don't realise
they're carers, it's part of what is the norm in their family. Other young
people become carers overnight and are thrown into a world where
they shouldn't be doing the same things as adult carers have to do...
Young carers should not be spending a lot of their time caring for

someone, as this can get in the way of school work and doing the

same kinds of things as other children or young people do. Often young

carers have no social time at all to themselves. During the pandemic further

pressure will have been put on these young carers as they will not have

been attending school, which did provide some respite from their caring

duties.

So why do young carers do this? Often because they are fiercely proud

and protective of their family - they don't want to be regarded as different

and often see the work they do as part of everyday life.

Also there's a concern of what may happen if they tell. Families are

very guarded in discussing what they see as family business with outsiders

Who may make them feel out of control and there is still suspicion of what

the 'council' will do if families are seen to be not coping. All of us here know

what is available for such families but the young carers don't.

Huge strides have been made over the years in supporting young carers and making it easier for them to come forward and get help. Every school I have worked in had young carers, many of whom only came to our notice as the result of an emergency situation. Many young carers are still hidden in plain sight. It was very pleasing to hear Cllr Kilgour include young carers in the work being carried out by Newcastle presently.

It is the responsibility of all adults to speak up if we think a young person is acting in the role of an adult in caring for a family member. It is also our responsibility to ensure they are not discriminated against because of their age.

I agree with Cllr Huddart that this campaign for extra funding is supported by our local MPs and is communicated to The Secretary for State and I also

look forward to the support for this Motion by the whole of this chamber