“It is essential that unpaid carers are supported to prioritise their own health and well-being alongside caring.” That’s the message from Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan today’s Young Carers Action Day.
The statement comes as the Welsh Government’s publishes its first annual report for the Carers Delivery Plan.
Making Time for Young Carers is the theme of this year’s Young Carers Action Day, with the aim of encouraging more adults and professionals to listen to the challenges young carers face.
Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan, who will meet with a group of young carers to hear about their experiences later this week, said:
“Young carers can face a wide range of pressures caring for someone.
“It is vital we all make time to speak with them and hear how they balance their education and leisure time with their caring responsibilities. It is also very important they are informed about their rights and how they can access help and support, including a carers’ needs assessment.
“They must be encouraged and supported to do this as a means of prioritising their own wellbeing.”
Dr Catrin Edwards, Interim Director at Carers Trust Wales, said:
“Young carers and young adult carers in Wales tell us time and again that having someone to talk to about the support they need in school or with their mental health is among the biggest changes that professionals and decision makers can make to support them. With the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis and the greater intensity of care provided by young carers and young adult carers – shown in both the Census results and recent Carers Trust research – it has never been so important to make time to listen to, and act for, young carers.
“At Carers Trust Wales we’re proud to be working in partnership with Welsh Government to support young carers and young adult carers to share their experiences with the Deputy Minister for Social Services this Young Carers Action Day. We know that when young carers and decision makers work together, we can build the policy and practice changes that young carers really need to support them to thrive.”
The Welsh Government is working to improve the lives of unpaid carers of all ages through a range of measures.
These include delivering a £9million investment in a national Short Breaks Fund over three years, to transform the way unpaid carers access respite and short breaks in Wales. It is also supporting a second Young Carers’ Festival in August, giving young carers a chance to take a break and to talk to professionals about their caring role.
Funding is being provided to Children in Wales to form a new Young Carers Advisory Board. The young people’s views will help inform our delivery of our national Unpaid Carers Strategy, working with schools, colleges and partners across the public and third sectors to ensure all young carers reach their potential and have their own lives alongside caring.
Julie Morgan added:
“We have achieved a great deal in supporting young carers since the launch of our Unpaid Carers Strategy, but we must also look ahead at what more we can do to help improve their lives.
“I am confident that by making time to listen to unpaid carers of all ages, we can achieve this.”