Alex Cunningham has marked Young Adult Carers Awareness Day by recognising the work of young carers in the Stockton North constituency.
Young Adult Carers Awareness Day was established to recognise the 700,000 young people who are caring for a family member or friends, often with little or no support. There are estimated to be 13,000 young carers who provide care for over 50 hours per week – the equivalent of seven days full work.
Young carers are children and young people under 18 years old who provide unpaid care to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances. Many young carers are as young as five or six years old and most care for a parent or other close family member, day in, day out.
Unfortunately, the needs of young carers often go unrecognised which makes it very difficult for them to focus on their school work and enjoy the usual social activities of a young person. The Labour MP is enthusiastic to reach out to young carers across the region who need greater support, and to raise awareness of these issues while recognising the work that young carers are doing daily.
“Today is a very important day and it’s a chance to do two things. First, Young Adult Carers Awareness Day gives us an opportunity to say a sincere and heartfelt thank you to the thousands of young carers who give up so much time and energy to support their friends or family.
“But, it’s yet another reminder of the urgent need to continue improving and developing the support services available to young carers – a group that has too often been forgotten or marginalised.
“Here in Stockton we have a tremendous organisation in the Eastern Ravens Trust and it is essential we continue to do everything we can to identify, contact, and offer support to young carers as well as helping carers who have not yet been identified to come forward and get the support they need and deserve.”
Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, said: “We know young carers miss on average 48 school days – that’s nearly 10 weeks of school a year – due to their caring role. Those aged between 16 and 18 years old are twice as likely to be not in education, employment or training. We must change this and make sure they all get the support they need so they can thrive and enjoy their childhoods like any other young person.”