Posted: 12 June 2019

Celebrating young carers as part of Carers Week 2019: Linzi's story

Thousands of young people across the country grow up caring for family members or adults who are ill, disabled or involved with drink or drugs. However, the work that these young carers do can often go unnoticed. This Carers Week we aim to raise awareness of young carers to help identify these young people and the responsibilities they take on.

Linzi's story

Linzi is a bubbly 18 year old and, from the outside, she is just like any of her classmates at college. But she has had to work hard over the years to feel like a ‘normal’ 18 year old.

The reality is that Linzi is the sole carer for her mother, who has many health concerns, including arthritis, blood clots on her brain and nerve damage. She also cares for her twin brother, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and dyspraxia.

A young carer’s job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

In Linzi’s experience, on a day to day basis, young carers have to decide whether to keep going or give up.

As a young carer she makes lots of difficult decisions that other young people don’t have to.

Her caring role starts as soon as she wakes up in the morning when she takes charge of the family cooking, finances, housework and personal care for her mother and brother.

'My mum is my hero; she taught me whenever life gets tough there is always light' 

Often the ‘to do’ list is overwhelming and Linzi ends up missing many more college classes than her peers. Even when Linzi manages to get to college, she finds it hard to stop caring: ‘The days I am at college I worry about mum hurting herself,  she struggles to go up and down the stairs and I worry she may fall trying.’

Her mother is concerned that Linzi’s education may be suffering because of the caring she does, but Linzi is adamant: ‘I love my mum and I wouldn’t have it any other way.’

Young carers can be hidden

‘Young carers are not easily identified; we don’t look any different to other young people our age, so in a way our caring role gets hidden away and kept separate.’ - Linzi

The last census put the number of young carers in England at just over 166,000 - but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The true figure is likely very much higher.

Like the hundreds of thousands of young carers living ‘hidden’ lives across the country, Linzi lived a double life for many years.

It is only recently with the support of the young carers group that Linzi has been able to tell more people. 

A bright future

After participating in one of our Young Carers projects, Linzi has developed her confidence and learnt new employability skills.

She plans to put these to use in her dream job - working for her local young carer’s organisation.

However, Linzi is realistic about pursuing a career while being a carer: ‘Mum’s mobility will get worse and I will need to help care for and support her a lot more.’

Luckily, she has the perfect inspiration: ‘My mum is my hero; she taught me whenever life gets tough there is always light at the end of the tunnel and things will be all right. No matter what obstacle she comes across she is always fighting. She never gives up.’

Help young carers

No child should be forced to grow up too early. Some young people don’t even realise they are carers, they are just looking after a loved one. But young carers shouldn't have the same responsibilities as adult carers, nor should they be spending the majority of their time looking after someone.

Your support means young carers can have a brighter and happier future ahead of them.



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