Care Day: Young People in Care

To celebrate Care Day 2022, we look at the impact that caring from a young age can have on people and the different ways young carers can seek support.


To celebrate Care Day 2022, we look at the impact that caring from a young age can have on people and the different ways young carers can seek support.

At Bluebird Care we find many of our carers get into care at a very early age by caring for an elderly relative or a loved one with a serious illness. So by the time they find care as a career path, it often comes ever so naturally.

With over 800,000 young carers in the UK alone and the seventh annual Care Day happening this year on Friday 18th February, we thought it was a great time to look at what care Day is all about. Even more crucially, we’ll also look at how young carers everywhere can get the help they need and deserve, all year round.

What is Care Day?

Care day is billed as the world’s largest celebration of the success and achievements of young carers – be they smaller children who grew up around a relative with a disability, or young adult carers who operate as a carer for a parent, sibling or other family member.

This year the theme is ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ and encourages young people in care to think about and share the stories of the people who’ve supported them (e.g. the members of their ‘village’) in their caring journey.

What is considered a young carer and what do they do?

The NHS defines a young carer as someone under the age of 18 who helps to take care of a relative who has an illness, disability, mental health condition, or a problem with substances like drugs or alcohol.

Perhaps the example that most readily springs to mind is a teenager helping a physically disabled parent to move around the house, cook, clean, eat and tie their shoelaces – many of which are mentioned in the video above, from young carers charity The Children’s Society.

However, the definition is broad enough to include things like a sibling with down syndrome, a live-in grandparent with dementia, an actively addicted live-in aunt or uncle, a dad with depression, or a mum with multiple sclerosis.

If someone isn’t legally old enough to drink but takes responsibility for another’s wellbeing in some way, they can be classified by law as a young carer.

A young carer gives a tea to a stressed-looking older woman

Can young carers get carer’s allowance?

Yes – young carers funding is available for those aged 16 or over. Those that are, and spend 35 hours a week or more caring for someone who fits the criteria above, are entitled to two UK allowances:

  • Carer’s Allowance pays £67.60 a week and can be claimed by one person in a household who cares for one person or more. They can only claim this if they aren’t in full-time education or earning more than £128 a week net salary (i.e. after tax and National Insurance deductions). Find out more about the Carer’s Allowance here.
  • Carer Premium is another means tested benefit that pays out an additional £37.70 a week on top of the carer’s allowance. However, it might not be possible to claim it if the carer is already claim other government benefits, like Jobseeker’s Allowance. For more info, visit this page here.

Getting involved with Care Day 2022

As you can tell from the above, the demands on young carers are often intense, and the financial support available is limited at best. That’s particularly true if they intend to work towards qualifications or earn a living wage while caring for a loved one.

This is why Care Day, and everything it stands for, is so important.

Getting involved with Care Day can be as simple as joining the conversation online and publishing a social media post sharing your story using the hashtag #CareDay22. Your post could even end up on the Social Wall over at the Care Day website!

To get further involved, you could also send a voice or video recording to the Care Day team via WhatsApp, along with photos of the person whose story you’d like to feature as part of Care Day 2022. Find out more about how to that here.

If you’re particularly passionate about supporting young carers, you may also want to join a special webinar event being organised to celebrate Care Day. It’s called Conversations with the Care Community and it’s organised by 5 Nations, 1 Voice (5N1V), an alliance of young carers charities based in the UK and Republic of Ireland that’s made up of Become, EPIC, VOYPIC, Voices From Care Cymru and Who Cares? Scotland.

For this event, each young carers charity has come together with the team behind Care Day to deliver discussions between Care Experienced people around themes of education, transitions, accessing information and recreation, in the setting of community.

The event takes place two days before Care Day itself on February 16th. Find out more on the Care Day website and register for free at Eventbrite here.

Finally, you can also become a Care Aware Ally by sharing photos or videos with the hashtag #CareAware, as well as changing your social media profile picture to special #CareAware graphics. To learn more, head here.

Supporting young carers beyond care day

A young carer sits on a couch and receives advice from an adult

Of course, caring is a year-round responsibility that doesn’t end when the Care Day celebrations do. Safeguarding young carers for the long term means giving them the connection, advice and support any adult carer would also need.

If you know a young carer, giving your support could be as simple as asking how they are and being a sounding board, helping them to feel understood and cared about. You could also offer to pop in and help them with things like cooking, shopping or giving lifts to them and the loved one they care for. Anything that makes life easier, young carers are sure to appreciate.

You may also wish to get involved with some of the charities mentioned above – either by making donations, getting involved in campaigning, or by volunteering your time and services. Check their respective websites for more info.

Young carers are also likely to find it incredibly helpful to discuss their experiences with others who are in the same boat. For that reason, you may want to tell them about the Siblings and Young Carers Service from children’s charity Sense, which aids in supporting young carers and siblings of disabled children. The service offers help for young carers by giving them a break from everyday life to chat with people their own age, share their experiences, and build confidence by learning new life skills like cooking or playing a musical instrument. It really is a wonderful initiative, and you can find out more about it here.

To learn more about how you can support young carers – or if you’re a young carer yourself seeking support – head to the NHS Help For Young Carers page here. Or to find a local support service near you, visit the Carers Services Near You page at Carers Trust.

Our final suggestion for supporting young carers is to suggest they get a rest from their responsibilities. Young carers respite breaks are essential to help young carers relax, de-stress and just enjoy being a kid once in a while! It’s a service many caring organisations offer, including us here at Bluebird Care Gosport. To find out more about our respite care service, head here.

Did you grow up as a young carer?

We’re always on the lookout for people with the caring bone in their body. So if you miss caring for someone, why not join our team and help us look after as many people in the Gosport area as possible.

To find out more, visit our Gosport Jobs in Care page or get in touch to have a chat about how your experience as a young carer might make you a brilliant Bluebird.


Related posts