Lancashire County Council is backing Young Carers Awareness Day on Thursday 31 January.
This national day raises understanding of the challenges faced by the 700,000 children and young people under 18 years old in the UK, who provide care and support to someone in their family who is ill, has a disability or misuses substances.
This is the fifth Awareness Day and the theme this year is mental health.
County Councillor Susie Charles, Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “We’re glad to support the Young Carers Awareness Day to raise awareness of the crucial role these young people have in their families. We want this to be a day that everyone recognises the challenges that the young carers can face on a daily basis, and give some thought to this.
“Our most recent figures indicate that we have around 4,000 children and young people in Lancashire who are providing care.
“Most young carers provide between 20 and 39 hours every week, but many provide over 50 hours of care each week. This can mean that they face many issues, and can be under a lot of strain because they are constantly juggling family, school and their personal life. As a result, their childhoods can be very different from those of their peers.
“We want to help schools, colleges, employers and the public to be able to assist these young people, make sure that they are able to access the right support now and are able to go on to pursue the employment that they want.”
The Lancashire Young Carers Service is run by children’s charity Barnardo’s on behalf of the county council, in partnership with the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Jenny Ashcroft, Barnardo’s team manager for the Lancashire Young Carers Service, said: “We offer young carers in the region one-to-one support with a project worker, and we are there when they and their families need us to provide emotional support and assistance in other areas of their life.
“The focus of our work is to ensure the whole family is receiving the right level of care and to liaise with other agencies to reduce the impact of the young person’s caring responsibilities.
“It is crucial that these amazing young people, who give so much to their loved ones, have a life outside of caring and have access to the same opportunities as others of their age. We work closely with our young carers to ensure they can engage in school, socialise with their peers, and provide advice and support in gaining access to further education, training and work. We also give these young people a voice through the Lancashire Carers Forum, where their invaluable insight helps to influence the way the service is run in the county.
“We will be publishing our Young Carers Strategy as soon as we can. We are grateful to our Young Carers for their contribution to this.”
A video ‘Same Day, Different Lives’ showing the roles that young carers take on within their families, and the differences of their lives to their peers is available at –www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIzWVEsqxxY
Anyone interested in finding out more about support for young carers in Lancashire can call 01772 641002, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lancashirechildrenstrust.org.uk/resources/?siteid=6274&pageid=47187
To find out about the national Young Carers Awareness Day, visit carers.org/news-item/young-carers-awareness-day-2019