The 2011 Census indicated that almost 178,000 under 18’s have caring responsibilities and the vast majority are providing under 20 hours of care a week. In Buckinghamshire, 1,875 young carers identified themselves as carers (2011) and a significant 8.4% of them provided more than 50 hours of care per week. Of these young ‘high demand’ care providers, 54% are female.
Carers Bucks is the main support provider for carers in Buckinghamshire. At present they are supporting over 850 young carers aged 6 to 18 years and the majority of them are female.
As part of their service, Carers Bucks actively try to identify ‘hidden’ young carers and one of their main methods of doing this is by working directly with schools and community groups. They were recently awarded a grant from our Kop Hill Climb fund to expand their ‘young carers in schools’ project to also include secondary schools.
In addition to assisting in the identification of ‘hidden carers’, the project will also:
- Deliver young carer awareness training to school staff and, where appropriate Governors
- Deliver young carer awareness to pupils via assemblies
- Support the schools to identify a young carers champion
- Support schools to sign up to a ‘working together’ document with Young Carers Bucks which will agree closer working, referral pathways and professional liaison
Secondary schools have identified a need for young carers projects in their schools, not only to identify hidden young carers but to also support those leaving primary school who often find the transition difficult.
Sandy Briscoe from Carers Bucks said:
Our experience has shown us that school staff were actually unaware that they had young carers within their schools and admitted that they needed help to identify them and support them appropriately. All this information is provided as part of the programme.
The Carers Trust and BBC have highlighted the fact there are a large number of young carers that still haven’t been identified and they estimate that we are only working with 30% of young carers. This project will help to identify the young carers in Buckinghamshire who still need support.