First ever National Young Carers Coalition launched

Launching the first ever National Young Carers Coalition:
Working Together for Young Carers, Disabled Parents and their Families

A group of leading voluntary sector organisations have come together to launch the first ever National Young Carers Coalition.

The Young Carers Coalition is made up of organisations that work with young carers and their families including The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Crossroads Caring For Carers, Disabled Parents Network, The Children’s Society, Family Action, NCH and Barnardo’s. The University of Nottingham Carers Research Group and YMCA Fairthorne Manor are also involved in the coalition.

Danni Manzi from The Princess Royal Trust for Carers explains, “The aim of the Young Carers Coalition is to put young carers and their families high on the political agenda. We need to ensure that the right messages are portrayed to professionals and the general public about the needs of, and issues faced by young carers, disabled parents and their families.”

“For example”, says John Keep from the Disabled Parents Network, "Supporting disabled parents will enable them to become more independent and help them to fulfill their parenting responsibilities without having to rely on their child."

Jenny Frank from The Children’s Society adds “This year, one area that the coalition is focusing on is supporting the Standing Commission on Carers with the successful implementation of the Carers Strategy in relation to young carers. It will continue to highlight the need for whole family approaches to be taken with disabled parents and young carers - including sibling carers”.

The lack of coordinated responses and support between children’s and adults’ services remains an ongoing difficulty for young carers and their families. Although central government and many local authorities show a commitment to supporting whole families, practice varies greatly amongst professionals in all sectors and children’s and adults’ services are a long way from joining up “around the needs of the family” as cited in the Think Family: Improving the Life Chances of Families at Risk 2008 report by the Cabinet Office.

Another area that the coalition will focus on is the Education and Skills Bill. Ministers have given welcome assurances that young people will not be prosecuted for not participating in education or training if they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ – such as caring for an ill parent. However, the coalition believes strongly that effective safeguards are needed to ensure that young carers and their families are offered the support they need to enable young carers to stay on in education or training.

- Ends -

Notes to editors:

Young carers
Young carers are children and young people under 18 who have a caring responsibility for someone in their family who has a physical or mental illness, a disability, or a substance misuse problem. They take on caring responsibilities that are inappropriate to their age. Most young carers experience bullying, and most miss days off school due to their caring responsibilities. Some drop out of school completely and fail to attain any GCSEs. The 2001 census found that there are 175,000 young carers throughout the UK.

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (The Trust) is the largest provider of comprehensive carers’ support services in the UK. Through its unique network of 133 independently managed carers’ centres and interactive websites (www.carers.org / youngcarers.net) The Trust provides information, advice and support services to over 310,000 carers, including 15,500 young carers.

The Children’s Society
The Children's Society is a national charity driven by the belief that every child deserves a good childhood. To that end it provides vital help and understanding for those children who face the greatest danger, discrimination or disadvantage; children who are unable to find the support they need anywhere else. For more information visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk

Crossroads – Caring for Carers
Crossroads – Caring for Carers is about giving time - improving the lives of carers by giving them time to be themselves and have a break from their caring responsibilities. Our aim is to provide a reliable service, tailored to meet the individual needs of each carer and the person they are caring for. We have schemes in most parts of England and Wales, which provide a range of services to meet local needs.

NCH
NCH is expert at working in partnership with a wide variety of organisations to deliver services and campaigns for the most vulnerable children and young people. Children and young people can only achieve their full potential if they are given the opportunity to get involved in the issues and services that affect them. We listen to children and young people and involve them in defining the issues they face and in finding solutions to help them achieve their full potential.

Family Action – supporting families since 1869
Family Action is a national charity that supports children and families in need. it helps over 45,000 children and families a year by providing financial, emotional and practical support, especially to those living in poverty. A further 60,000 benefit from Family Action education grants advice. For more information, visit www.family-action.org.uk

Disabled Parents Network
DPN is a small national charity of parents who are disabled and their families. DPN provides help to families where there is a disabled parent and insufficient support for their parenting needs from Social Services in order to support the whole family.

Barnardo’s
As one of the UK’s leading children’s charities, Barnardo’s believes in children regardless of their circumstances, gender, race, disability or behaviour. Every year Barnardo’s works directly with over 100,000 children, young people and their families through 394 vital projects across the UK. 15 projects provide services for young carers, ensuring that approximately 2,150 young carers and their families are supported and get the help to which they are entitled.

The University of Nottingham Carers Research Group
The Carers Research Group at The University of Nottingham is a group of academic researchers, doctoral research students and practitioners/policy makers collaborating on a programme of work which examines the lives, experiences, needs, policy and service responses to young and adult carers in diverse circumstances both in the UK and internationally. The Group’s Director is Saul Becker, Professor of Social Policy and Social Care and Director of Research for the School of Sociology and Social Policy.

YMCA Fairthorne Group
YMCA Fairthorne Group is a charity whose mission is to champion and add value to young lives by providing experiences that challenge, enable and develop the individual. Based at an 111 acre outdoor activity centre, it has been providing positive, engaging experiences for children and young people for over 60 years, with activities including canoeing, climbing and orienteering. Fairthorne Manor hosts the annual Young Carers Festival in association with the Children’s Society, giving young carers the opportunity to enjoy a weekend of outdoor activities, music and camping, whilst giving them the chance to voice their concerns. Visit www.ymca-fg.org for more information.