Opening doors for Young Carers

As part of an innovative new project by Derbyshire Carers Association (DCA), 28th August saw Young Carers flocking to the Post Mill Centre, South Normanton for a well-earned Celebration Event, attended by VIP guests – the Mayor and Mayoress of Chesterfield, Councillor Alexis Diouf and Mrs Vickey-Anne Diouf.

Young Carers and siblings had the chance to boogie the night away to hot DJ music, enjoy a huge healthy buffet and experience the unique opportunity to meet and chat to other Carers in an informal setting and, importantly, in an environment away from daily pressures and responsibilities. Transport was made available to ensure Carers could attend where possible.

The charity ‘Action for Children’ – identifies 175,000 young people as Carers in the UK and over 22% of these young people are in a caring role for over fifty hours a week. DCA estimate that the real number is actually higher, with many young people concealing the reality of their situation due to the stigma associated with problems such as addiction or even fear of their family being separated.

As a result, many of these young people may suffer from educational problems, financial difficulties and social isolation.

Young Carers can be involved in care provision for many reasons; research suggests that care is usually provided in the young person’s own home, to support a relative (parent, sibling, grandparent etc.) who is experiencing illness or disability, be this physical or psychological.

Responsibilities can range from helping out with domestic chores, home finances and management, through to providing full personal care for a significantly disabled individual.

The stresses and coping difficulties which are attributed to adult Carers can also be found in Young Carers. Although it has been suggested that some Young Carers cope better than their adult counterparts because many of them have grown up within their caring role and have ‘normalized’ their experience.

However, Young Carers still remain vulnerable and in need of support and this innovative pilot-project, funded by the Big Lottery ‘Awards for All’ – aims to raise awareness of Young Carers, their issues and to reach the ‘Hidden Carers’ in the County.

Project Leader: Debra Dudley said: ‘This hard-to-reach group needs this renewed focus in order to highlight and provide the assistance required – and occasions such as this Celebration Event has hopefully opened new doors for Carers in our county.

‘The project has strengthened our links with Young Carers and our Carer Support Team are excited to build upon this success by extending its outreach to younger people in caring roles’.

Further Carers events are scheduled for this autumn and winter (2014), please telephone: 01773 743355 for further information. Debra Dudley can be reached via e-mail: