Posted: 15 May 2013

'I struggle to keep on top of everything, especially my homework'

Thousands of children across the country are forced to grow up early and miss out on vital educational and recreational opportunities because they care for disabled or chronically ill adults or younger siblings.

According to the 2001 census there are 175,000 young carers in the UK. However, we and other charities strongly believe this could just be the tip if the iceberg.

Tomorrow, new census data will be released with more information about young carers. We'll be sharing information and opinions about this throughout the day - please continue to visit our website and follow us on Twitter.

Our Young Carers in Focus project enables young carers across the UK to share their stories and get their voices heard using a safe social networking site. The network hosts blogs and videos created by our young carer Champions, like this one by Joanne, who is 14 and cares for her older brother.

Joanne's story

Since my mum was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago, I have helped to look after my 17-year-old brother, who has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. 

I look after my brother by supporting him with his homework after school. I also try to give him advice about managing friendships and how to understand other people’s ways of thinking. 

I feel very tired and stressed at times from caring for my brother and my mum. I struggle to keep on top of everything, especially my homework. Being a young carer also means that I can’t always make plans for the weekends. My brother needs to have a very set routine, so he can become very annoyed if this changes.

It would be great if schools and teachers could recognise my brother’s condition and the impact on me as a sister and young carer. I think this would help relieve some of the stress.

Although it is really hard at times supporting my brother and mum, I wouldn’t change him for the world.


More about young carers

Visit Young Carers in Focus, a national network that allows young carers to communicate, share stories and campaign for the things that matter most to them

Learn about issues young carers face

By Matt Summers-Sparks - Digital team

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