BBC Radio 4's 'Any Questions?' was broadcast live from our Young Carers Festival last night. The evening's questions featured an inquiry by Rose North, a young carer, that prompted responses that captured the difficulties faced by young carers.
The show was presented by Jonathan Dimbleby to a audience of almost 400, including 80 young carers. The event was hosted by The Children’s Society and YMCA Fairthorne Manor. The panel included Chuka Umunna, shadow secretary of state for business; Harry Mount, journalist and writer for the Telegraph; Anne Marie Carrie, chief executive of Barnardo's; and Jeremy Browne, minister of state at the foreign and commonwealth office.
Rose, one of the 175,000 young carers in the UK, asked the panel: 'If you imagine you're doing your studies and already failing to cope. Now bring into the equation that your parents are they're ill or unable. How would you deal with this?'
Panelists respond to young carers' issues
Panelists addressed the complexities of going to school and having to care for a parent, including being late to school or having to take a parent to hospital.
Chuka Umunna said: 'When I met young carers they all said that they did not trust their teachers, that they were very much alone. . . . There are two things we need to do. Firstly, we need to educate schools and teachers. And we have got to educate other young people about the situation of their peers.'
Anne Marie Carrie said: 'Even young carers, these remarkable young people, need a childhood, they need an education.'
Jeremy Browne said: 'When it a child looking after their parent their bravery is amazing. Where government and local councils can help it is hugely appreciated by young carers.'
Other questions addressed banking, housing benefit and the British Olympics football team.
Part of Young Carers Festival
After Any Questions?, this year's Young Carers Festival opened with a fireworks display and presentation.
Over 1000 young carers are attending the festival at YMCA Fairthorne Manor, Hampshire.
The festival takes place from over three days (Friday 29 June to Sunday 1 July), and for many of these young people is the only chance they have to get away from their responsibilities at home and enjoy their childhood.
Questions for Jonathan Dimbleby
Two young carers, Starr and Connor, asked questions of Jonathan Dimbleby after last night's broadcast. Please watch their video: