The project works to assess and support young people who are caring for a parent or sibling with a long term illness or physical disability
About the project
The Young Carers Project (aged 7-18)
Young people and children throughout the UK are caring for members of their immediate family, often with minimal professional support. A BBC and Princess Royal Trust for Carers survey in 2010 estimated that 700,000 children and young people are caring for a seriously ill adult or sibling in the UK. This unpaid support frequently becomes an essential lifeline for many families and a positive impact has been demonstrated on reducing the burden on NHS budgets.
Unfortunately many of these situations can be unsuitable or extreme challenging for young carers, which advances into either excessive hours (40 plus hours per week) or harmful caring roles. Young people with few alternative options take on responsibilites in managing complex health conditions, such as personal care for a disabled adult or emotional care for a sibling. Caring in circumstances inappropriate for their age groups is a recurrent subject, young people by necessity become a principle carer for a relative living with chronic conditions, mental health problems, severe mobility concerns or dependency on drugs/ alcohol.
Harrow Carers, located in the London Borough of Harrow and affiliated with the Carers Trust, is a charity investing in some nationally significant and innovative work to reduce the impact of caring for young people. We are committed to working with a whole family approach using methods which sustain family unity and are intended to increase the resilience of young carers.
Our Young Carers project aims to minimise the extent of innappropriate or harmful caring responsibilities taken on by young people empowering them with skills and knowledge through training and awareness. With a focus on increasing friendship circles and networks through fun enjoyable activities which provide a well deserved break.
The Young Carers Project Services
Education and training programmes support young carers with improving school attendance, educational achievement, bullying and other issues adversely affecting their lives. Language, ICT, curriculum and other job focused life skills are featured in our programmes. Soft skills are nourished and encouraged including communication and social skills, team building and life skills.
2) Advice, Information & Signposting
We offer a multi-layered package of advice and useful information ranging from school support, benefit and financial assistance options to our in-house therapeutic counselling. The service is there to guide, listen and support and help wherever possible. Our staff navigate with young people and family members in their journey to access social services, NHS and other types of support.
3) Schools Outreach Programme
We have developed strong links with local schools to help identify 'hidden' young carers and signpost them for further support through the project and third parties. The schools outreach worker delivers training to teachers on how to identify young carers as well as holding assembly talks and drop-in sessions where student teachers can come and obtain information about our services.
The purpose of respite activities for young carers is to offer them time away from their caring roles. Monthly outings, volunteer mentoring and whole family support gives young people an opportunity to meet other young carers and share their experiences, have fun and learn new skills, enabling themto be children and live their childhoods.
Recreational and sociable outings are featured in the annual programe, alongside informal skills training, additional study support and a home work club. The goal is to enable the young carers to build and develop a social network with mutual understanding to reduce the impact of bullying and social inclusion.
5) Supporting Young Carers at Home
Statistics demonstrate that young carers can have an immensely positive influence on those they care for, the recognised long term benefits include improved recovery times, relapse rate amd medication requirements. There is a need for publicity, awareness and training for professionals around this important subject to enable them to recognise and support young carers in their caring duties. We empower young people in their caring functions and strengthen resilience through specific carer skills training, manual handling, health courses and work to improve communications.
About Harrow Carers
Harrow Carers is a registered charity established in 1996 and the leading carers' support organisation in the London Borough of Harrow. We work in partnership with a network of local statutory, voluntary and commercial organisations in providing practical support and advice for carers and their families. Carers are encouraged and supported to be involved themselves in the provision facilitating self-help and a community driven approach. We are a registered charity No: 1062149 and a Company Limited by Gurantee No: 3325055.
Our services are centered on providing emotional support, breaks and training for carers to enable them to continue with their caring roles, participate in their local communities and contribute to society. Harrow Carers offers holistic packages, so that carers have a single point of contact and are supported in negotiating the complex range of services they may need from various other sources in the community. We supported over 3,500 carers and their families in the last 12 months. We provided advocacy to improve carers well-being and access to financial benefits, social welfare and housing, and leisure opportunities.