Young Carers - Essex

A young carer is someone under 18 who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.

There are about 700,000 young carers in the UK, that’s about one in 12 secondary aged pupils. In Essex it is estimated that 10,000 young people look after a relative.

What might a young carer do?

  • Practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping.
  • Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed. 
  • Emotional support, such as talking to someone who is distressed.
  • Personal care, such as helping someone dress.
  • Managing the family budget and collecting prescriptions.
  • Helping to give medicine. 
  • Helping someone communicate.
  • Looking after brothers and sisters.

Being a young carer can have a big impact on the things that are important to growing up

  • It can affect a young person’s health, social life and self-confidence.
  • Many young carers struggle to juggle their education and caring which can cause pressure and stress.
  • In a survey, 39% said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role.
  • 26% have been bullied at school because of their caring role.
  • 1 in 20 miss school because of their caring role.

But young people can learn lots of useful skills by being a young carer.

Young carer and young adult carers in England have the right to information and to an assessment of the support they need from the council.

The Carers Trust have written a free guide which explains what those rights are. It also tells you what should happen when you talk to the council about being a young carer or young adult carer. Young carers and young adult carers gave us advice about what would make this a great resource for them and their peers.

It is written for all young carers and young adult carers, especially for those aged eight to twenty-five.

Download your copy >>

Where to find support

There are many organisations which offer specialist advice and support for young carers, below are links to some of these:

In Essex, support for young carers is provided through Essex County Council Youth Service’s new Key Worker Service. Where requested, a key worker will help with things such as access to mental health services, liaising with schools to improve attendance and attainment, finding social and leisure opportunities, signposting to other support services and intervening at times of crisis. They also run various groups across the county.

Referrals to the service can be made online  or emailing young.carers@essex.gov.uk or by phoning 0333 0322 800.

Healthwatch Essex has some advice young carers might find useful, in their guide to health and well-being for young people as well as a list of useful contacts.

The Children's Society has lots of advice and resources for young carers on its website.

LawStuff gives free legal information to young people. LawStuff is run by Coram Children’s Legal Centre, which provides more detailed information both over the phone and online.

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner has an advice and assistance line They can help with questions you have about your rights, welfare and safety. Email: advice.team@childrenscommissioner.gsi.gov.uk. Freephone: 0800 528 0731 open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (the phone number is free from a landline, but may cost from a mobile.)

NHS Choices has lots of information and advice on their website, including getting help from teachers, social workers and your doctor.

You can talk to someone on Childline who may be able to give you advice and get you help. They won't tell anyone that you have called. It is FREE and especially designed for children: 0800 11 11. They also have lots of really useful resources on their website including the Childline App.

The Childline App "For Me". For Me was named and designed to blend in with other apps on your phone. That means that if anyone else sees your screen, they won't realise it's a Childline app. It's also totally secure. You can lock it with a pin number and keep all your information safe. You can swipe through the pages to get the advice you want, can have a 1-1 chat with a counsellor and join the on-line community which is a place for you to share your experiences, have fun and talk about anything you want.