A Glasgow school will be the venue for the launch of a brand new schools pack this Monday [5 December 2011] aimed at showing primary school children what it’s like to be a young carer.
Eryc and Trayc: A Short Story about Young Carers brings to life in cartoon form the story of a girl and a boy who are looking after relatives who can’t manage without their help. The book will be distributed to all of Scotland’s primary schools as part of an initiative created by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (The Trust) and funded by the Scottish Government.
Through the book and the website www.erycandtrayc.com, children can find out what young carers do, what challenges they face and where to get further help and support if they are a young carer themselves.
The launch of the new pack will take place at Cuthbertson Primary School in Glasgow. As part of the Eryc and Trayc campaign, The Trust ran a competition for primary school children all over Scotland earlier this year asking them to watch an animated film about young carers. The children then told The Trust what they had learned from the film and Kasim Iqbal from Cuthbertson Primary School sent in the best answer.
Kasim, the Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson and Louise Morgan, The Trust’s Young Carers Services Development Manager, will be joining Deputy Head Teacher Theresa Wright at Cuthbertson Primary School on 5 December to launch the books at a special assembly dedicated to young carers.
There are an estimated 100,000 young carers in Scotland, roughly one in ten of the school population. Young carers are children and young people who take on caring roles and responsibilities that are usually associated with adults. As a result they often miss out on schooling and time with their friends.
Early identification and support of young carers is vital so that they don’t miss out on schooling, fun with their friends and that their own mental and physical health doesn’t suffer as a result.
Louise Morgan, The Trust’s Young Carers Services Development Manager, said: “Young carers tell us time and again that they are not recognised as young carers at school and so miss out on additional support and the opportunities their friends have.
“Through Eryc and Trayc, we aim to help primary school aged young carers to identify themselves by comparing their situations to the ones we’ve set out online and in the school pack. Our initiative will also show teachers that children can be carers from a very early age. These children provide a huge amount of social care in our communities and they deserve our support and recognition.”
Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: “This fantastic new pack, backed by Scottish Government funding, will make it easier for young carers in Scotland to know where they can turn to for advice and help when they need it. Young carers fulfil an important job, helping loved ones, but it is absolutely imperative that they have access to appropriate levels of support. We are determined to do all we can to help young carers further, which is why we are taking forward a pilot scheme to develop a young carers identification card and are supporting the provision of short breaks for carers and young carers, giving them a much needed break from the stressful demands of their day to day lives.”
Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education for Glasgow City Council said: "I'm delighted for Kasim and I'm sure the school and his family are very proud of him winning the competition. Young carers do a fantastic job and we all need to give them as much support as possible."