Young carers

What is a Young Carer?

A Young Carer is a child or young person under the age of 18, who provides some level of unpaid care to another family member. And they can sometimes be as young as 5 years old.

Young Carers lives are usually restricted in some way because of the need for them to give care to another person (usually a family member) who is either ill, has a disability, is experiencing mental ill health, is affected by alcohol or drug misuse, or has a condition such as HIV/AIDS.

It is estimated that there are approximately 177,000 identified Young Carers in the UK. It is believed that the actual number is far higher.
The difference between young carers and other young people who help in the home is that young carers are often responsible for someone else in their family – in a way that most other young people aren’t.

What Young Carers could be doing?

  • Domestic tasks washing, shopping, cooking, cleaning
  • General care, giving medicine, assisting with mobility
  • Intimate care washing, bathing
  • Childcare – looking after brothers and sisters
  • Emotional support listening, helping other family members to feel OK

    What’s the effect?

    • Feeling “different” and isolated from their friends / peer group
    • Lack of time for homework, play, sport or leisure activities
    • Feeling that no-one understands or listens
    • Conflict between their needs and those of the person for whom they are caring, leading to possible feelings of resentment
    • Health problems including headaches, stress related illnesses, lack of sleep, stress, anxiety
    • Underachievement at school

    What support do we offer Young Carers?

    Young Carers After School Club (YCASC) 5-11 years – Weekly, Term Time only. This is a fun Arts, Craft, and games club with regular workshops and different themed activities for Young Carers who are registered with us. This group provides a fun break for young carers and an opportunity to develop through play. It also provides an opportunity for Young Carers to express themselves in a safe non-judgmental environment, with people who understand the lives of a Young Carer. This group runs every Tuesday at the same time and same place.

    School Holiday Club (RESET) 12-16 years. This is a relaxed group offering different planned activities developed from Young Carers ideas. It is a safe space to meet other Young Carers who are registered with us and take a break from their caring responsibilities. We offer arts, craft, games and workshops as well as an emotional support for carer related issues. This is run on a Tuesday same time and same place in the school holidays.

    Monthly Fun Event (MFE) 5-16 years.  This is an opportunity to build memories with peer young carers who are registered with us and have fun exploring new places while experiencing different activities together. The events are based on Young Carer feedback and take part in a variety of places within the Southend area, to suit all tastes. This is usually held on the last Saturday of each month and although all ages are invited they will be divided into age groups and on occasions the activities may be only appropriate for our secondary or primary age groups.

    Summer Holiday Program 5-16 years. Throughout the summer holidays the above groups will not run however there will be different events and workshops planned for each age group. These will run each week throughout the summer holidays for both age groups. Activities will be based on Young Carers ideas/wish list, in a variety of locations in Southend Borough and nearby areas.

    Residential Breaks (13-16years). Each year we invite a selected number of Young Carers to the Annual Young Carers Festival in Southampton. This is a weekend camping trip with different activities planned by the YMCA. Details of the Young Carer Festival can be found on the internet. It is a fantastic opportunity for Young Carers to learn about themselves and meet with different Young Carers from all over the country and to discover more about the opportunities available for them. It offers an opportunity to voice their thoughts and get involved in activities with friends from Southend Young Carers and new friends made at the festival.


    All young carers have to be registered with us to be able to access any of the above. All registrations can be done by a parent/guardian, young carer or professional.

    If you are a Young Carer and have not registered with us, then please do so online here ‘register with us’.

    If you are registered with us as a Young Carer, the parents/guardians of young carers will be notified about the above clubs via email.  Young Carers will be invited to the clubs via email and then it is the parent’s responsibility to accept the invite by registering their interest to book the young carers onto the clubs and individual events.

    You can follow us on Facebook where we post information about each club.

    If you are a parent/guardian of a Young Carer registered with us you will be invited to join our Young Carer closed Facebook group, for updates of groups, events and a platform to help communicate with other parents/guardian without sharing personal information about individuals.

    For more information on carers/young carers including their rights and other support available for all Young Carers, please take a look at our Carers e-handbook on this site.

    If you are a school, professional, parent/guardian or a Young Carers and would like to speak to someone about Young Carers please contact…

    Louise Hart
    Young Carers Support Co-ordinator
    Tel: 01702 393933

    ONLINE COUNSELLING AND WELLBEING SUPPORT is a website that young people can use to get advice, support and guidance from qualified counsellors (UKCP and BACP accredited) via a live chat service or from young people of their own age via moderated forums for any problem, no matter how big or small, it is available on any internet enabled device.

    As a Young Carer do you feel like you need somebody to talk to about how you are feeling  – it’s a SAFE, ANONYMOUS and MODERATED service for Young People – Find out more here…