Young Carers in Cornwall and the Chairman’s Charity

Young Carers are often a forgotten group to the wider public. Currently Cornwall has 550 known young carers, up from roughly 250 18 months ago. Estimates suggest (Census 2011) that there were a total of 1,217 young people aged 0-15 providing unpaid care in Cornwall and a further 2,682 aged 16 to 24. Young carers often do not come forward as they see nothing unusual about their role and its part of their family life.

Historically the funding for the young carer’s service came from the old Carer’s Grant from Central Government which ended in the last comprehensive Spending Review in 2012/13. However, the Council sees the importance in continuing to support Young Carers and commissions a support service for young carers run by Action for Children. This service has just celebrated its second year of operation. 

Further support to Young Carers has now been given by the Chairman of Cornwall Council John Wood who has made Young Carers his chairman’s charity for the next year. I really welcome this and huge credit should be given to John for his support. Having spoke to John he wants to raise awareness of this group and help raise money via events. It is great to have John’s support.

Young Carers need all the support they can get as The Children’s Society report “Hidden from View” (2013) revealed that:

  • 1 in 12 young carers is caring for more than 15 hours per week. Around 1 in 20 misses school because of caring responsibilities
  • Young carers are 1.5 times more likely than their peers to be from black, Asian or minority ethnic communities, and are twice as likely to not speak English as their first language
  • Young carers are 1.5 times more likely than their peers to have a special educational need or a disability
  • The average annual income for families with a young carer is £5000 less than families who do not have a young carer.
  • There is no strong evidence that young carers are more likely than their peers to come into contact with support agencies, despite government recognition that this needs to happen.
  • Young carers have significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level, the equivalent to nine grades lower overall than their peers e.g. the difference between nine B’s and nine C’s.
  • Young carers are more likely than the national average to be not in education, employment or training (NEET) between the ages of 16 and 19.

Furthermore, statistics show that the number of young carers is increasing. Figures from the 2011 census revealed that there are 16,118 people between the age of 5-17 years providing unpaid care in the South West, compared with 11,883 in 2001 – an increase of more than a third (36 per cent) over the decade. This is the second highest increase in the UK, second only to the South East which saw a 41% rise.

To contact Kernow Young Carers, call 01209 204565 / 01872 321486 or their website Kernow Young Carers

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