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Three in four young carers feel lonely in the summer holidays

Posted by / Thursday 02 August 2018 / Press release
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Our research, developed with the Carers Trust, shows that 72% of young carers feel lonely during the summer holidays.

We surveyed young carers under 18, which found nearly half spend more than four hours a day during the summer caring for a relative – the equivalent of losing an entire week of their holidays. And while many families are enjoying quality time together on a trip away, thousands of young carers are stuck at home – shockingly, one in five said they have never been on a summer holiday with their family.

With so much time taken up caring for loved ones and less time to relax, more than two thirds feel more stressed or worried during the holidays; while more than half worry about talking about what they did in the summer break when they go back to school.

There are an estimated 700,000 children and young people across the UK caring for a family member with a disability, illness or mental health problem - some as young as five years old.

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Typically, young carers help with practical tasks around the home such as cooking, housework and shopping; physical care, such as helping someone out of bed; and personal care, such as helping someone dress.

Funded support for vulnerable young carers, such as respite services, continues to be put on the back-burner. Action for Children and Carers Trust are calling on the government to ensure local authorities have the funding they need to provide all young carers and their families with support. Without it these vulnerable children and families are left without help, which hugely affects young carers' life chances.

Carol Iddon, managing director of children’s services, says:

“The summer holidays can be heart-breaking for young carers who are often isolated and trapped at home, while their friends are having fun in the sunshine, playing sports or enjoying adventures abroad.

“We see first-hand the awful impact of loneliness and stress on young carers, who dedicate their lives to helping their loved ones. These children are often desperate for a break from their duties and to have a bit of fun in their holidays – that’s why young carer respite services are such a lifeline for them.”

Young carer services offer carers a break from their caring responsibilities, as well as provide practical and emotional support to enjoy life and achieve, just like their peers. Projects often take them on day trips and residential breaks as well as help them access education and mental health services."

Jess Siagian is a young carer for her brother Jacob, 13, who is severely mentally and physically disabled. She lives in Carlyon Bay in Cornwall. Apart from five hours a week when a professional care worker takes over, Jess and her mum Natalie are his sole carers during the summer.

Jess said:

"Jacob has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is registered blind, so we need to be with him all the time. My mum and I take it in turns caring for him and we have to do everything including getting him out of bed in the morning, giving him a bath and dressing him.

"I dread the extra hours I have to do in the summer holidays as it can get very boring. It's really hard for us go out as a family – so we end up staying at home a lot. Even if I just need a lift to go and see my friends, we have to get Jacob into the car. I spend most nights face-timing with friends to stay in contact rather than meeting up."