Young Carers Awareness Day

Young Carers Awareness Day raises awareness of the challenges faced by young carers and campaigns for greater support for them

Young Carers Awareness Day is an annual event, taking place on 30 January 2020. Kent Community Foundation is delighted to financially support many young carers and charities that support young carers, throughout the year and on Young Carers Awareness Day is highlighting two of the charities, Carers FIRST and Imago Community, making a huge difference to the lives of young carers across Kent and Medway.

Carers FIRST is a registered charity supporting children and adults looking after a relative or friend
who, due to ill health, physical or mental illness, disability, frailty, or addiction, cannot
manage without their support. They provide information, advice, guidance, emotional
support, training and activities, giving unpaid carers an opportunity to have a break from their
caring role and help them get the support they need. They support thousands of carers and are currently supporting carers as young as five years old.

This January, Kent Community Foundation awarded a grant of £4,000 to support a Carers FIRST project specifically for young carers looking after a family member above what is usually expected in a ‘normal’ family life. The challenges go beyond the carrying out of tasks around the house; Young Carers are often disadvantaged as they are not able to socialise with their peers, leaving them open to becoming victims of bullying both in and out of school, along with the risk of their education suffering negative effects too. Family budgets in many Young Carers’ homes are stretched, meaning many go without what so many other young people take for granted, which in turn can put additional pressure on Young Carers when it comes to spending time mixing with others in their age and social groups.

Kent Community Foundation has been supporting Imago Community since 2002. They deliver a range of innovative projects for children, young people and Young Carers across Kent and Medway. The Young Carers they support are children and young people, under the age of 18, who are carrying out the caring responsibilities normally assumed in adulthood. This role can impact on the Young Carers physical and emotional well-being as well as their life chances socially and academically.

The majority of the young carers Imago Community support come from low income families with challenging family dynamics including single parent families. In October 2019, Kent Community Foundation awarded a grant £20,800 to Imago Community’s ‘Joining Up the Dots’ project, developed after a report showed that there continues to be many unidentified and hidden Young Carers within the county, who need referrals and access to the services that can support them.

Natalie Smith, Director of Grants and Impact, Kent Community Foundation, said “Research indicates that one in five secondary school children may be a young carer, although for many carers, this journey begins at a much younger age. Caring for someone can be very isolating, worrying and stressful and Kent Community Foundation is proud to support both individual Young Carers and charities that are working to support them, throughout Kent and Medway.”

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