Posted: 16 February 2015

Kerry's story: 'My school doesn’t recognise young carers'

Kerry’s story and photograph are part of Hidden: England’s Invisible Young Carers, a compelling exhibition of photos and stories of some of the more than 166,000 young carers in this country.

Find out more about Hidden: England’s Invisible Young Carers.

Kerry's story

I care for my mother, who has fibromyalgia [a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body] and my father, who has post-traumatic stress disorder and another, unknown illness.

I help with their basic needs, and help them with whatever they need, basically. Some days they can’t get out of bed. 

I was recognised as a young carer in September 2014, and by October the young carer group took me to Blackpool for a holiday to relax. 

I don’t really look up to anyone, I know where I want to go in life. I’ll get myself there. 

My school doesn’t recognise young carers 

My school doesn’t recognise young carers. Even now, even after they’ve been told, they still don’t recognise us.

My parents couldn’t work anymore and were registered as disabled, but the school didn’t do anything. Some teachers have been okay. It has helped me to have my mentor. With him it’s going well for me. Better than before. 

There are two [students] in my class who are young carers. One of them is my best mate: we’re in the same young carers group.

I’m always happy. They say I’m crazy because I’m always in a good mood. I help everyone. I’m very organised – because of my parents I have to have routines. I have huge files of notes to keep track of things. I’m a very organised person.

If you’re young and caring for someone, it doesn’t have to always be so difficult.

I want to be a maths teacher. Go to university. I absolutely love maths. I’d love to go back to my high school. Because I’ve been the ‘naughty kid’. I’d try and understand them and fight for them.

I went through a bad patch with my mum and dad. I got suspended; I was always getting in trouble. I got excluded. If you know someone’s parents are ill, or if someone’s changed, sit down and talk to them. At eight or nine I was never naughty, even though I was caring for my parents. By ten or 11 I blew up – I was a tool, basically. I felt really angry. 

If you’re young and caring for someone, it doesn’t have to always be so difficult. There are people who can help. Accept the help, it can get better. Young carer is a label. Labels aren’t good, but labels can help in others ways. There’s stigma once people know, but it also opens doors.

I’m still the same person, but now I get support. 

More about young carers

To find out more about our young carers, you can visit the exhibition from today til 22 February in London at gallery@oxo, on the south bank of the Thames. 

By Kerry

Young carers

Support our work with young carers: Donate £5 by texting HIDDEN to 70025.


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