It is estimated that there are over 700,000 young carers aged under 18 in the UK, and that 1 in 5 young people take on caring responsibilities at some point in their childhood. These young people often go unidentified and have little or no support to manage their caring, school and social lives.
As a result, caring often has a huge impact on their lives: on average, young carers achieve 9 grades lower at GCSE than their peers, are three times more likely to be NEET after finishing school, and half have mental health problems.
This is why Leicestershire Cares is supporting the Who Cares? campaign, which aims to improve the support available to young carers across the UK. The campaign is spearheaded by a powerful and emotive play, which tells the story of real young carers support by the carers service in Salford.
On Monday 8 November, three members of staff from across our youth and education teams attended a 3 hour CPD session at the Curve, led by the LUNG Theatre group. We were joined by colleagues from schools, local authorities and other voluntary organisations to learn about identifying and supporting young carers, and the challenges they face.
After the training, we got to watch a performance of Who Cares? which four of our young people also attended. The play was powerful and emotive, and really resonated with our staff and young people.
The performance was followed by a Q&A with local professionals who support and campaign for young carers, including our Head of Children and Young People. The discussion focussed on how we can raise awareness of young carers and ensure they receive the support they need.
Who Cares? is showing at the Curve until Wednesday 10th November. We urge any professionals with an interest is supporting young people to go and see it.
You can also watch the play and access education resources about young carers for free on the Who Cares website.