Are you under 18 and looking after someone in your family who is ill or disabled? This may be a parent, a brother or sister or a grandparent. Maybe you help by staying at home a lot to be there for them, helping them get washed or dressed, perhaps translating and interpreting for them, or doing lots of cleaning, shopping and cooking.
If this sounds like you, then you are a young carer. It may seem a strange way to describe yourself, because looking after someone in your family may feel like a natural role. But being a carer means you may have the right to help and support to make life easier.
Looking after someone can be stressful
It can be stressful as well as hard work looking after someone, even when you love them. And it can make it harder to keep up with things at school or to find time for yourself to relax, have fun or see your friends.
Help from the council
As a young carer you are entitled to get help and support. The council will not be looking to stop from you from supporting the person you look after, nor to separate you from that person. They will ask you what sort of support you would like to make your life and your caring role easier.
Support is available from the Early Help Teams in Family Services in the relevant borough. They can provide young carers with:
- An assessment of their needs
- One to one support for young carers with a high level of need
- Advice to support young carers in their caring role
- Information about other support services and activities they engage in
You can contact the council directly. Or, if you prefer, you can ask someone you know to contact them for you - maybe a friend or relative, a teacher, or your family doctor. Don't be afraid to ask - it is important to get the help you are entitled to.
Please contact Westminster City Councils' Children and Families Access Team on 020 641 4000 for more information.
There are organisations in your local area dedicated to providing specialist advice and support to carers, and various other organisations and groups offering support and activities.
"DreamArts is an organisation that works to support young carers resident in Westminster through social groups, creative projects and mentoring. Click here to view the range of activities offered by DreamArts in the borough
Follow this link to the directory to find more services able to support young carers.
- Assesment for young carers
- Rights of young carers
- Renaissance Foundation - based in East London, work with young carers age 13-18. A 3-year programme focused on needs and aspirations improving their resilience, developing soft skills and life tools such as public speaking abilities and critical thinking and broadening their horizon of work.