27 Feb 2013

Young carers from across England are celebrating news of a £1.2 million funding boost to improve local support for young carers and their families.

Yesterday’s announcement by Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families, comes as 30 children, whose daily lives are dramatically affected by caring for family members, met with professionals to celebrate the achievements of an innovative young carer project. 

The Prevention Through Partnership (PTP) programme was developed by The Children’s Society for young carers who are affected by parental substance misuse and mental ill health. It brings together local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to share good practice to improve the lives of children at risk of becoming young carers.  

This new funding from the Department for Education (DfE) means that the next phase of work can now go ahead. Led by Carers Trust and supported by The Children’s Society, the Next Steps programme will continue the work of PTP, improving vital local services for young carers and families across England.

There are an estimated 139,000 young carers in England, but The Children’s Society believes this number to be just the tip of the iceberg. Many young carers remain hidden from official sight for a host of reasons, including family loyalty, stigma or bullying.

'I want young carers to know they are not alone'

Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families said:

'Young carers demonstrate extraordinary dedication every day for which we cannot thank them enough. I want to let them know that they are not alone.
'The Children’s Society and Carers Trust are already playing a vital part in helping local authorities to tailor their services to provide better support for young carers. I am delighted to announce that we have awarded them a new contract worth £1.2 million over the next two years to continue this good work.'

The Next Steps programme will focus on supporting the whole family, to make sure that the needs of young carers are met. Many of the young carers at today’s event come from hidden and marginalised groups, including children caring for family members with drug and alcohol dependency.

'The extraordinary work carried out by young carers'

Young carer, RJ Dorey, aged 16, who co-chaired the PTP celebration event, said:

'The Prevention Through Partnership project has been an amazing success and it’s great that we now have two more years to push forward. It’s really important that young carers get the chance to express their views. There is a huge impact on me, being a young carer. I have to carry around this weight on my shoulders as I juggle studying, caring, family and friends. We would like authorities to look at the bigger picture, the whole family, and not just one person’s problems.'

The Children’s Society’s Chief Executive, Matthew Reed, said:

'This million-pound funding boost is amazing news for young carers. It represents a huge vote of confidence in the quality of our work supporting some of the most marginalised and forgotten groups of young people.

'The government is giving a very clear message that it is recognising the extraordinary work carried out by young carers and the personal sacrifices they make every day to look after their loved ones. Working with our partners, Carers Trust, we can now continue sharing expertise, listening to young people and creating innovative support programmes with young carers, which are critical for children to be able to thrive and enjoy their childhood.'

‘This funding will help us understand better how we can work with whole families’

Dr Moira Fraser, Carers Trust Policy Director, said:

'We are delighted with this announcement. This funding will help us understand better how we can work with whole families to support everyone, including young carers. We need to do this because it is in working better with whole families that services can really help young carers achieve their aspirations and have more of the opportunities other children and young people can expect as a matter of course.'

The young carers at the PTP celebration took an active role co-chairing the event and acting as roving reporters. They fired questions at key decision makers from local government, the voluntary sector and national government, including Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families, and Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England.

The Next Steps programme will now continue to build on this good work and further influence professionals and key decision makers to support young carers and their entire families.


Media enquiries

For more information please call Lynsey Mellows, in The Children’s Society media team, on 020 7841 4422 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

The Next Steps programme has been awarded £1.2 million, over two years, by DfE. The partnership will be led by Carers Trust in partnership with The Children’s Society. The programme will build on the PTP programme and both partners’ strong track record in delivering national  programmes supporting young carers. It will focus on identifying and supporting the whole familiy with young carers. Particular attention will be given to identifying and supporting young carers with family members affected by HIV, substance misuse and mental health problems, as these are often the hardest groups to reach.

The Department for Education (DfE) awarded the original two-year grant for the ‘Prevention through Partnership’ (PTP) programme to The Children’s Society’s national Include Programme and its STARS national initiative to improve the lives of young carers and their families who are affected by parental substance misuse, mental ill health , where a child may be at risk of taking on a caring role

There are estimated to be 50,000 young carers affected by parental mental ill health. There are however 2.6 million young people living with parents who drink hazardously, between 3.3 and 3.5 million live in households with a parent who binge drinks and between 250,000-300,000 are affected by parents misusing drugs. Many of these children will be young carers. Many are surrounded by stigma and it’s often difficult for these families to come forward for support.

The PTP programme: 

  • Encourages greater collaboration between organisations to support early intervention work before a child begins to adopt a caring role.
  • Promotes sharing of best practice between statutory and voluntary agencies through 17 national events since 2011, a website where professionals exchange learning and good practice.

Helps to ensure the voices of young carers and their families are integral to commissioning and delivery of support services.

Prevention through Partnership has successfully delivered 17 national events across England reaching out to over 700 strategic professionals from over 120 local authorities.

As a result of PTP, there are now an increased number of local authorities who have:

  • Development plans in place to improve outcomes for families affected by parental substance misuse and mental health.
  • Adopted the Memorandum of Understanding ‘Working Together To Support Young Carers and Their Families’
  • Developed partnerships with key stakeholders to deepen shared values and agree priority actions for young carers and their families.

Good practice tools are available for professionals online at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/youngcarer

The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give support disabled children to express their views, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and give young carers a voice. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.