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Charity asks more young carers to come forward ahead of national awareness day

Article date - 23 January 2017

St Helens' Young Carers Centre already supports over 550 local young carers with funding from St Helens Council, but the number of children and young people in St Helens caring for family members without support could be as high as 2,000.
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The Young Carers Centre – which supports young carers to cope better with their caring role – is hoping to make more people aware of this stark figure ahead of National Young Carers Awareness Day on 26 January so that more hidden young carers will come forward for support.

A young carer or sibling carer is a young person aged 6 to 18 years of age who cares for a family member that could not cope without their support, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction. Young carers often take on practical and emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.

Lorraine Pennington, Manager of the Young Carers Centre, said: “It’s so important for young carers to have the opportunity to inform someone they trust that they are providing care. We hope by raising awareness in schools and with other agencies that more hidden young carers will come forward to speak out about their caring responsibilities and in doing so, they will then receive the support they desperately need.”

A number of primary and secondary schools in the borough are helping to raise awareness of young carers by holding young carer assemblies – delivered by the St Helens Young Carers Centre – and own-clothes days, with a donation of £1. Money raised will go the centre – a small, independent charity based in the town centre – to support more young carers.

Sutton Oak Primary School has hosted such an assembly ahead of the awareness day, presented by Ann-Marie Leather (pictured), Young Carers Schools Involvement Officer for the charity.

Amanda Bradshaw, the school’s pastoral manager and lead for young carer support and referrals, said: “As a school, we are delighted to work in partnership with Young Carers. Assessing the impact of this role on young people’s lives is such a worthwhile cause and supporting vulnerable children is a key priority here at Sutton Oak.”

For more information visit www.sthelensyoungcarers.org, or call 01744 677279.