We look at the needs of children undertaking caring responsibilities in Armed Forces Families 

Teenage boy and young sister walking hand in hand down alleyway

In 2017 we were awarded funding from NHS England to look at the needs of children undertaking caring responsibilities in Armed Forces Families. The project looked at how caring responsibilities may negatively affect this group of young people's health, well-being and education, and to identify challenges they face in accessing support and good practice support.

'It was hard when my dad went away for 6-9 months deployment. It was hard for me because my responsibilities had changed. When my Dad went away my mum relied on me to help care and look after my younger brother who has learning disabilities. This has had an impact on my life. I used to struggle at school and then I used to come home and I found it hard to get any homework done.' 

Aims of the project

Running from October 2016 to March 2017 the project looked at the specific needs of young carers from Armed Forces Families, including a detailed look at Hampshire and Wiltshire - where 29% of Armed Forces are currently located.

The main aims were:

  • To inform future military welfare and external agency professional development
  • To improve recognition and support for these young people
  • To produce an information resource specifically for young carers in Armed Forces Families signposting them to further information and advice.

The project engaged with young carers from Armed Forces families across Hampshire and Wiltshire and consulted with a range of relevant personnel to inform this project, including:

  • The British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force
  • Education providers and schools
  • Local Authorities
  • Health services
  • Young carers’ service providers
  • Armed Forces charities and family federations.  

The programme also:

  • Explored background national data regarding young carers, Armed Forces children and also reviewed locally requested data from schools and young carers services
  • Hosted consultation days in Wiltshire with Help for Heroes and in Hampshire with University of Winchester
  • Consulted with young carers from Armed Forces Families in Hampshire and Wiltshire.

The programme report contains an outline of the findings from these activities, recommendations for military and civilian services and suggestions for further actions and reading.

download the report