As the UK’s largest carers’ charity Carers Trust launches a new website and online community for young carers, new research has shown the shocking effect needing to care for parents or siblings has on the wellbeing of young people who care for others.

The research with over 350 unpaid young carers from carers groups around the country compares the findings with a YouGov poll of 457 non-carers* aged 8-15. When the answers of the 457 non-carers are compared to the 200 young carers who were in the 8-15 age group the carers were less happy, more worried, sadder and more confused than their peers.

When asked what sort of things they worried about, the carers group were twice as worried about money, much more worried about bullying, exams, the future generally and of course they were much more worried about their families.

The full response of 348 young carers were asked how being a young carer made them feel. Around 48% said it made them feel stressed and 44% said it made them feel tired. However 51% percent reported they were proud of being young carers and 42% that it made them happy.

The research also shows a quarter of the young carers group don’t have enough people to talk to and 28% said they would like to talk to other young carers online.

For this reason Carers Trust is launching a new online community and website for this age group called Babble (www.youngcarers.net or http://babble.carers.org) which will provide friendship and support online for young carers under 18.

 Babble is a space where young carers can find others in a similar position, chat to each other, share their stories and hear about each other’s experiences in a safe environment. It has been shaped by talking to young carers about what they want – from easy and fun ways to share content, to community interaction and support.

Babble has been funded by a grant from the Queens Trust.

As well as the support and friendship young carers can find with each other, they will also have access to help and advice, email and chat sessions with the Carers Trust Online Support Team who are all qualified youth and community workers or professionally qualified social workers. They also act as site moderators.

Dr Moira Fraser, Interim Chief Executive of Carers Trust, says: “We know from what young people tell us that caring responsibilities can have a big impact on young carers’ mental wellbeing, and this survey really brings home the scale of the issue.

“This is also the first time we’ve been able to compare young carers’ feelings to other children and young people. It shows just how much Babble is needed to combat the risk of isolation and to make sure these young people are as happy and supported as they can be”.

Young carers have said the following about online support Carers Trust have provided, and that Babble will allow us to increase hugely:

“It was my sanctuary in the midst of a very difficult time. It was a safe heaven. A place where I could be me and not be judged. It was my lifeline to help / support / friendships and reality – just because it’s online it doesn’t mean friendships aren’t made.”

 “How do I start on saying what you guys have done for me? Through thick and thin you guys have been here for me. All the laughs I’ve shared with everyone on the site, both staff and users, makes my day. When there’s days with no chat if I’m not busy I actually miss all the amazing people.”

 “I think it has helped me develop conversation skills and a lot of confidence. I’ve find it easier to get along with new people. It’s also nice to know other young carers because I don’t know anyone who’s one outside the site. I like the fact everyone tries to help each other. I has a really nice atmosphere and honestly I love everyone there so much!”

                

“I think, including me, lots of people don’t want to make a fuss that they’re a young carer and sometimes just want a normal life which is why the online service is good. I use it and it’s very helpful.”

Further information: Matt Beer, Carers Trust Media and Communications Manager – 07824 566 493 mbeer@carers.org

 

Notes for Editors

 

  • *457 children aged 8-15 said that they didn’t spend any time looking after a friend/ family member because they have a serious illness, disability or something else.
  • Non-carers sample – all figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 519 children, 457 of which were non-carers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 8th December 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB children (aged 8 to 15).
  • Carers sample – conducted via Survey Monkey and hard copy with Carers Trust Network Partners and young carers groups around the country. Fieldwork between 1st December and 14th Total of 349: 8-10 – 54; 11-15 – 149; 16-18 – 143.

About Queens Trust

  • The Queen’s Trust exists to enable and encourage young people to help others. It supports projects in the United Kingdom.
  • Since April 1977, when HRH The Prince of Wales launched The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Appeal and the Queen chose that the Appeal should focus on raising funds to support young people, over £80m has been contributed from the fund to projects that help young people help others.
  • The Queen’s Trust is delighted to support Carers Trust to help young carers in two practical ways:
    • The design and launch of Babble which will ensure young carers get the online support they need.
    • A project that will help school staff identify and support pupils who have caring responsibilities.

About Carers Trust

  • Carers Trust is the UK’s largest charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.
  • We do this with our Network Partners – a unique network of 124 independent carers’ centres, 73 Crossroads Care schemes and 107 young carers services. Together we work as one organisation united by a shared vision for carers – to make sure that information, advice and practical support are available to all carers across the UK.
  • There are seven million carers in the UK. Please visit our website carers.org for further information about your nearest service.

 

Which of these have you felt in the last month?

 

% 8-15 Carers YouGov Difference
Angry 46 46 0
Worried 46 39 +7
Sad 46 42 +4
Happy 65 83 -18
Cheerful 41 61 -20
Confused 38 28 +10

 

What sort of things do you sometimes worry about?

 

% 8-15 Carers YouGov Difference
The future 44 32 +12
School 57 50 +7
My family 55 35 +20
Friends 37 33 +4
How I look 39 27 +12
Money 31 13 +18
Being bullied 36 21 +15
Exams 49 37 +12

 

How does being a young carer make you feel?  

Carers 8-18. 349 answers %
Proud 51
Stressed 48
Tired 44
Happy 42
Okay 41
Worried 39
Lonely 27
Sad 21
Scared 20
Helpless 19

 

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