Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has an established series of support services available to young carers and young people who are the main carers of a sick or disabled family member.
With more than 150,000 young carers in the UK, they face a serious responsibility. In addition to the daily tasks they complete such as housework, cooking and bathing, they live with the added pressure of school and, often, a lack of understanding from schoolmates.
If you are under 18 years old and look after or help to look after someone who is disabled, sick, elderly, experiencing mental health problems, or unable to look after themselves, then it is probable that you are a young carer.
Caring can significantly affect the quality of a young carer’s childhood and their future opportunities/. That is why Rhondda Cynon Taf Council supports young carers in many different ways.
If you are a young carer you might:
â€¢ Look after brothers and sisters who have special needs
â€¢ Care for a parent with an illness or disability by helping with personal care, housework or cooking meals.
â€¢ Not do anything practical, just listen and give emotional support to a person
â€¢ Miss out on what your friends are doing or struggle to get your homework in on time because you are needed to care for a family member.
There are a number of workshops, classes and excursions throughout the year for young carers to get involved in.
As well as offering activities for young carers and their families, there is a large amount of support on offer. There are one to one sessions with a project worker if a young carer needs time out or just needs to talk about a specific issue.
A young carers guide, entitled “Do You Care?” which explains everything that a young carer might need to know about the support that’s available to anyone under the age of 18 who cares for someone. Copies are available from 0808 100 1801.
The Young Carers Assessment and Development Worker can provide a range of information and advice for young carers and those who work with them. This can include visiting a family to carry out a Young Carer’s Initial Assessment.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services & Equalities Cllr Annette Davies said: “Often young people don’t see themselves as carers, just family members doing what anyone else would do in their situation. The Council’s support mechanism wants to help these individuals in any way we can.
“We can offer support to make the caring responsibility easier, help young people cope with their feelings and introduce them to other young carers to gain from the support that they may provide through understanding their situation.
“Each young person has different needs and concerns and our service is here to try and support them and make life easier in terms of the care work they undertake – whether practically or emotionally.”
If a young carer needs ongoing support, they can be referred to the Rhondda Cynon Taf Young Carer’s Project run by Action For Children
It aims to:
â€¢ ensure that young carers have opportunities to be free of their caring responsibilities
â€¢ make sure that young carers are not missing out on opportunities that their peer group
â€¢ arrange social and leisure activities
â€¢ provide practical and emotional support
For details contact 01443 668839 or email: YoungCarersSupportTeam@rctcbc,gov.uk