Grant's story

Grant is a 13 year old caring for his younger brother Macauley who was born with pneumonia and has developed several problems since then.

Today in the UK, around one child in every classroom will be a young carer. Their average age is just 12 years old.

Sometimes it all gets too much for Grant, 13, when he’s sitting in school trying to concentrate but can’t stop worrying about what's going on at home.

That's when he uses the 'time out card' that his local Carers’ Centre gave to his school so his teachers would understand when he just has to get out of the classroom to collect his thoughts.

Having someone else explain what you are going through is a relief to a sensitive 13-year-old like Grant, who often gets emotional about his younger brothers and sister. If it had not been for the Carers' Centre, children like Grant would feel alone, scared and unsure where they could get help.

His brother Macauley, 12, was born with pneumonia, developed a bowel disorder and now has an ileostomy and takes supplementary food through a tube in his stomach. He has learning difficulties and is partially deaf.

The boys live with their dad Andy and stepmum Danielle but at times Grant takes charge of changing his brother's ileostomy bag, keeping the tube clean and giving him nutrition.

His step-sister Jessica, aged four, has arthritis and his one-year-old stepbrother Joshua needs regular physiotherapy. His dad has recently had major back surgery and is due for more.

Not that Grant minds caring for Macauley: "I protect him when we are out together. He can walk but he’s a bit slow and he doesn’t know about traffic. His hearing difficulties can make things hard. At home I keep him entertained by playing on the Playstation or watching videos with him. I am his best friend. I also help with the chores like doing the washing up.

"What I like about being a carer is knowing I am different. It makes me feel good because I am helping someone. I don’t resent the time I give to looking after him because he is special to me and it’s not his fault that he is ill."

The Carers’ Centre, which Grant has been attending for two years, has been a lifeline for the family. Andy, 37, says: "Grant’s a great help but he thinks about what is going on in the family and sometimes blows his top at school. The Carers’ Centre gives him time away; just time out for himself."

Grant says: "It's great having someone I can talk to who understands and can give me the support I need."

Original article written by Gill Swain, Daily Express June 2007