Posted on January 13, 2012 by


Heeley-based Sheffield Young Carers project had two special guests at their recent celebrations when Children’s Minister Sarah Teather and local MP Meg Munn joined their end of year party.

Meg invited the minister to meet the young carers after she heard of their concerns about the support that is currently available to them in schools. The minister wanted to hear first hand from young carers about their experiences and agreed to travel to Sheffield to meet them.

The plight of young carers is often hidden, but is nevertheless, shockingly common. BBC research in 2010 highlighted that around one in 12 children and young people in the UK provide mid to high levels of care for a loved one. Sheffield City Council estimates there are at least 2,000 young carers under the age of 16 caring in the city.

Caring involves grappling with responsibilities normally associated with adulthood: managing the family budget, doing the shopping, washing and dressing a loved one, administering medication or being there emotionally for someone who may have no other sources of support or company.  The impact can be considerable, especially on their education.  Missing school, being late, feeling exhausted, feeling upset and angry which can result in poor exam results, lack of career choices, being bullying, effecting attendance, aspiration and achievement.

Liz Church, Manager of Sheffield Young Carers said:

“We’d like to see every school have a named champion for young carers. A lot of teachers don’t recognise young carers at all or fully understand the impact caring can have on their education. We want to make it easier for young carers to get support they need from their schools and help schools understand more about their caring roles.”

Meg Munn, MP for Sheffield Heeley said:

“I’m pleased that the minister took the time to come to Sheffield and listen to what local young carers are saying to me. I know they have concerns over teachers recognising the important role they play at home as young carers and the impact this can have on their school work and education.

“It seems that the most important first step schools can take is to understand which students are young carers. They can then make sure they have a greater understanding of how this is affecting their lives and education. Whilst some schools are very good at identifying and supporting young carers, unfortunately some schools have a long way to go. I believe government also has a role to play, so I will continue to raise issues on behalf of local young carers in parliament.”

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said:

“Supporting young carers, so they don’t have to undertake inappropriate or excessive caring roles is a priority for the Government.  Young carers are unsung heroes who play a vital role in their families.  They deserve our recognition and support to make sure that caring responsibilities don’t stand in the way of being healthy, successful at school and having the same opportunities as other children.

“It was a privilege to meet the young people in Sheffield who were taking a well earned break.  I know that projects like Sheffield Young Carers provide invaluable help and advice. 

“The Government is supporting The Children’s Society and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers to help schools, young carers projects and health services to work with families, to better understand how they can identify and support young carers.”

Sheffield Young Carers Project offers support, understanding and respite for young carers, some of whom are as young as eight years old, by providing group activities and learning experiences, one to one support and residential breaks.

Visit  for more information.

Posted in: Local Groups,