24 March 2023
My name is Amy and I am 18 years old. I live in Somerset and I am a Young Carer.
What is it like to be a young carer?
Being a young carer is difficult physically and mentally. It’s especially hard when people don’t understand the challenges you go through on a daily basis.
I have had to look after my mum from around the age of 13. It was especially difficult seeing my friends go out and having fun but I couldn’t as I too many caring responsibilities, such as cooking, cleaning, giving physical care and emotional support to my mum. These responsibilities take up a lot of time meaning that young carers miss out on a lot and it can get in the way of school work.
I joined a young carer group around the time of my mum’s diagnosis of MS. These sessions gave me time to myself away from my caring responsibilities and it also allowed me to meet young people who were in the similar situation as me who understood the challenges of being a young carer which made me not feel alone.
Now that I am 18 I can no longer attend these sessions. It feels like you’re fending for yourself and the people you’re caring for without the support you require.
What are your challenges as a young carer?
I have the same challenges and struggles that I had when I was 13 this includes having a lot of responsibilities around the house giving physical care to my mum, emotional care for my mum on top of that I have a younger brother that I look after as well.
COVID and the lockdowns also had a big impact on my caring role. During the lockdowns we were not allowed to attend the young carer sessions in person so we had to do it over zoom.
Although I still had some form of support, it was still really difficult because I didn’t have a break from my caring role, this made me realise how important the young carer groups are and how much young carers benefit from them.
I can’t go to the young carer Group sessions as I have just turned 18. Just because I’m 18 now, it doesn’t mean my circumstances have changed.
I’m still in full time education and I’m doing A-Levels and, on top of this I have also been diagnosed with ADHD.
This makes it hard to find time to myself is and it also makes it challenging to know what to prioritise as my caring responsibilities most of the time have to come before my school work and enjoyment.
What helps you?
Going to the carer groups gave me two hours to myself, every 2 weeks, where I could see my friends in the groups and talk to them about things we had in common, and what it was like to be a young carer it was good as It gave me time away from my home circumstances and I could relax and have fun.
We also went on Residentials which were good as it gave us time to be a kid and get away from your responsibilities for a couple of days and nights.
What’s your advice to Somerset Council?
I think that that they should get more opinions and listen to those aged 18-25 who have caring responsibilities to here what they have to say and what support they need. I think that there needs to be more support for 18-25 year olds as the support we need is not the same as what older adults who are carers need.
They don’t have the same challenges young people face such as being in education, social pressure and fitting into society as well as our caring responsibilities.
Who needs to hear from you?
Someone in charge needs to here these things that can do something To create a change and have more support for young people who have caring responsibilities.
What are your aspirations and dreams?
I want to be successful; I hope to go to university and get a sports degree and become a PE teacher