The challenges facing Young Carers during COVID-19

Whilst the country has been adapting to the current enforced lockdown, for young carers in particular it has added an extra pressure to an already difficult daily life.

In 2019, 18% of the families we helped included a young carer.

“[our holiday] was the chance for my daughter, who is my young carer, to have a break from caring and enjoy all the activities ordinarily we cannot afford for her to do, such as swimming. The best bits were seeing my daughter happy and smiling, and having fun altogether.”
Mum from Stockport

Young carers

The BBC estimates that there are about 700,000 young carers in the UK*. Being a young carer often means looking after a family member who is ill or helping them by looking after the other members of the family, like brothers and sisters, while they can’t.

On top of providing emotional support to the person they are caring for a young carer may also have to learn how to nurse them, give them medication or look after their personal needs like bathing and dressing.

The extra responsibilities at home can leave young carers lonely and isolated, especially if they have to miss out-of-school activities, leaving them feeling frustrated about their situation and anxious about the person they care for.

We know from feedback we receive that a day out or short break can make a significant difference to a young carer and their dependents.

“The family had a fantastic time on holiday. The children are young carers for their mum, on the holiday they were able to spend quality time together having fun, going swimming and doing various activities knowing that mum was happy.”
Family referrer

In 2019, almost all (98%) of the families we helped to take a break together told us that they had fun and created happy memories, 91% were more optimistic about the future after their break and 86% returned with more confidence..

97% of the children we helped to take a break had new experiences and as much as anything, a break away from their daily struggles gives a young carer a unique opportunity to be a child again.

“The family had a fantastic time on holiday. The children are young carers for their mum, on the holiday they were able to spend quality time together having fun, going swimming and doing various activities knowing that mum was happy.”
Family referrer

In 2019, almost all (98%) of the families we helped reported that they had fun and created happy memories, 91% were more optimistic about the future after their break and 86% returned with more confidence. For children, 97% had new experiences. These are all really important outcomes.

As much as anything, a break away from their daily struggles and responsibility gives a young carer a unique opportunity to be a child again.

Young carer

“I was able to focus my attention on my youngest child, who is my young carer. Due to difficulties her 2 older siblings have, this is rarely possible and she often is left just to get on with it by herself. It was lovely that we were able to spend quality time together to reconnect with each other, and I saw how much this meant to my daughter. She could also let her hair down and just be a child for once.”
Mum from Swindon

Click her to read about Sophie, a young carer who we helped with a trip to the seaside through her carers group.

Many organisations who support young carers and refer to the Family Holiday Association have advice on their websites to help with the current situation. A good place to start is Carers UK.

Please remember to follow the government advice to stay at home and observe social distancing.

Click here to view the NHS’s latest coronavirus advice >

When we are on the other side of this crisis, there will be many more families in urgent need of a break who would be unable to access one for themselves. We will make sure we are still here and ready to support them.

*Taken from Young Minds website

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As a charity whose mission relies on travel, COVID-19 will significantly affect the Family Holiday Association in 2020 – as it will many areas of our national life. Yet we know that we will be needed more than ever once things get back to normal. Your support now will help us be ready.

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