Caring for carers in a crisis
The pandemic has left so many children hidden from view. That especially goes for young carers. They have spent more time at home taking on caring roles. It's tough. But we have their backs. We make sure they know there are people out there that care. Naomi, a young carer, tells us what it means to feel supported in this crisis.
Coronavirus and young carers
‘The coronavirus generation’
Naomi is 17 and studying for her A-levels. When she’s home she looks after her mum. She jokes that her and her friends will be forever ‘classed as the Coronavirus generation’. She worries about them missing out on an important chapter of their lives.
‘School trips have been cancelled and it's memories like that that have been taken away from us’. We all kind of took for granted going to school and now we are regretting it.’
It’s true some young carers are in school taking up vulnerable group places. But equally many choose not to go in. They don’t want to put their family at risk. And some told us they simply don’t want to be labelled as vulnerable.
A balancing act
Sometimes Naomi gets anxious. She misses face-to-face interactions. As a carer for her mother, lockdown has made it difficult to find an escape. Many of the young carers she knows are feeling the same. They are fed up.
‘Young carers are having to juggle their own studies plus their siblings studies and try to manage all of the household kind of schedule in one and I can imagine for quite a few of my friends it’s stressful to say the least.’
You do what you have to do to get by
illustration of young carers feeling trapped
Young carers facts and figures
of young carers said their caring role increased in lockdown
of young carers said they were not able to take a break from caring
of young carers felt more isolated
Care packages and calls
We help young carers wherever we can. They have a lot on their plate. Whether it is teaching them their rights, taking their minds off it all or just listening. We are there.
During the crisis, our Include service has been running meetings for practitioners and schools to figure out the best ways to support young carers. They have also been offering therapy sessions online. These focus on mental health and well-being.
Through daily video chats, Naomi can keep in contact with her young carers group. She offers help. She knows what they are going through.
‘I have reached out to friends. And I know others were doing the same. We want to make sure that vulnerable person knows that there’s people there for them if they want to just like have a chat.’
As much as young people are struggling, a lot are coming together
Fighting for hope
We are also delivering food and care packages for young people who might not have any family around to help them during the pandemic. Naomi explained why this support goes beyond the package they receive.
'It’s as if receiving that gives them something to do to take their mind off everything that’s going on.'
They are being given hope for the future.
The pandemic has left many young people isolated and alone. For carers like Naomi, things that were hard became even harder.
But we help them find the strength to overcome their difficulties. We let them know we're thinking of them. Whether it's a phone call, a gift, or just a text to check how they are.
Join us as we fight for their hope, their ambitions, and their whole generation.
Illustrations by Simin Zhu, as part of the Central St. Martins animation project.