Team GB may have excelled itself at this year’s Olympic Games, but missing out on the opportunity to take part in sporting activities is the stark reality for Scotland’s young carers, new research carried out on behalf of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Scotland (part of Carers Trust) has revealed.
The research revealed that only 11% of young carers see friends every day, as opposed to 37% of young people who participated in Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS). 49% of young carers said they visited friends’ houses less than weekly or never.
Of the young carers responding, 60% cared for more than 20 hours a week, whilst 20% cared more than 50 hours a week. The majority cared for their mother.
The survey results were launched to mark the start of the annual Scottish Young Carers Festival; a way to celebrate young carers’ contributions and provide them with a space to relax, enjoy and mingle with other young carers away from their caring roles.
Lasting for two days from 17 till 19 August, the 2012 festival is the biggest yet, bringing together 600 young carers from all over Scotland.
A young carer from Glasgow, James cares for his mum, Phyllis, who has fibromyalgia. He said: “I spend roughly 54 hours a week caring for mum and I really notice how much less spare time I get than my friends during the school term. Whilst they're playing football or going to the cinema, I'm usually indoors looking after my mum. I’m really looking forward to the festival because it will be a brand new experience for me and I’m looking forward to meeting up with people as I don’t need to explain my situation to them.”
Louise Morgan, Young Carers Services Development Manager for The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Scotland, said:
“It is vital that young carers get appropriate support through dedicated services for young carers and our Festival. Young carer groups allow young carers to meet up with friends and enjoy the activities they sometimes miss out on because of caring, while our Festival offers them a break from caring and the opportunity to try out lots of different activities and sports”.