A new scheme to help young carers in South Tyneside receive the recognition and support they need has been launched.
A Young Carer’s ID card has been produced to help those under the age of 25 who care for a family member or other individual because they have an illness, disability, mental health difficulty or an addiction. There are around 1,200 young carers in South Tyneside.
The Young Carers ID Card will raise awareness of the young carer’s responsibilities and give formal recognition to their role, let people such as doctors, pharmacists and teachers know about their caring responsibilities and give them the confidence to ask for help or understanding from professionals.
Young carers have very much been at the heart of the project from its initial concept to choosing the design and graphics and setting out its purpose.
Young carer Charlotte Hamill, 13, from South Shields, who cares for her dad, thinks the card is a great idea.
She said: “The card will give young carers a voice and make them understood. It will raise awareness of young carers, for example, in school we won’t have to explain ourselves to staff and teachers all the time.
“I think it will also support my mental health and encourage others to have empathy and understand my specific needs.”
A lot of work has also been done with teachers, nurses, doctors and many other professionals to help them understand the challenges faced by young carers. Guides have been produced for professionals in health and education settings to help them identify and support young carers.
Councillor Adam Ellison, Lead Member for Children’s and Families Social Care, said: “Being a young carer brings with it all sorts of challenges and can have a detrimental impact on educational attainment, health and emotional wellbeing, as well as the ability to make friends and enjoy a social life.
“We also know young carers can face barriers, for example when collecting medicines for the person they care for or feeling excluded from conversations with health professionals about treatment and care plans.
“We hope this card will help our young carers overcome some of those challenges while making it easier for professionals to identify and support them.”
For further information on the support available to young carers visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/youngcarers