Young carers unite in plea at national conference
Young adult carers have united at an event in Glasgow to call for support services to be made available across Scotland.
With an estimated 30,000 young adult carers in Scotland, Carers Trust Scotland Carers Trust Scotland organised for some to speak at the Time to be Heard for Young Adult Carers conference.
There they shared their testimonies of how have been helped by support services and projects to an audience of 150 people including MSPs and representatives from higher education and local authorities.
Young adult carers experience a lot of difficulties in their education and employment prospects, as well as their health and wellbeing
In Scotland, Carers Trust is the largest provider of comprehensive carers support services, but believes that there are thousands of young people who are hidden carers and are not being supported.
Young speakers urged decision makers to ensure every young adult carer in Scotland has access to a support service.
The charity hopes that the event will help to raise awareness of the positive impact services and projects such as Time to be Heard, which launched a year ago, can have on young people with caring responsibilities.
Recent research by Carers Trust showed that of carers aged 14-25, one in three drop out of a university of college course due to the pressures of caring and almost half reported having mental health problems.
A quarter of young adult carers in school had experienced bullying because of their caring role and half of the young adult carers who had left education were not in education, employment or training.
Ailsa Tweedie (25), from Newmains, North Lanarkshire, explained how caring for her mum while trying to balance her distance learning degree, volunteering roles and trying to have a social life is really difficult.
She said: “I was really struggling and was feeling isolated, not many people that are my age fully understand what being a young adult carer can be like.
“The Time to be Heard for Young Adult Carers national campaign opportunities helped me by giving me a chance to work with people my own age who all understood exactly what being a young adult carer is like and gave me the chance to take part in developing campaigns, such as the Going Higher for Student Carers campaign, that will not only make a positive difference in my own life, but will positively impact the opportunities and support available for all young adults carers.”
Paul Traynor, young adult carer policy and campaigns officer for Carers Trust Scotland, said: “Our research shows that young adult carers experience a lot of difficulties in their education and employment prospects, as well as their health and wellbeing.
“However we know from listening to some of the success stories, that with improved awareness and identification and access to the right support at the right time, young adult carers can thrive.
“We would like to see this replicated across Scotland to ensure that these young people are not negatively impacted because of their caring responsibilities.”