MP highlights carers’ plight

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion
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Young carers gave their views about hot political issues when they were visited by a South Yorkshire MP.

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, met children and teenagers at charity Barnardo’s Rotherham Young Carers’ Service.

Ms Champion said: “It was important for me to meet with the young people and hear their stories.

“I was shocked how isolated they felt and just how much they have to endure.

“Young children should not be the sole carer of their parent, it’s too much of a burden and takes their childhood away.

“I was pleased I could give them a voice in Parliament and, hopefully, get them some support.”

Barnardo’s said the service it runs in Rotherham supports children as young as eight who care for a sick or disabled relative.

Ms Champion and the youngsters discussed the current Care Bill which outlines better support for adult carers – but does not do the same for young carers.

Following the meeting, she highlighted the young people’s stories during the debate on the Queen’s Speech, keeping the profile of young carers on the agenda.

One of the youngsters said: “Sarah’s visit was important to us, as it meant someone is finally listening to what we have to say.

“I hope Sarah’s visit will mean young carers get better support in the future.”

Peter Rutherford, manager of Rotherham Young Carers’ Service said: “We are pleased Ms Champion came to our service.

“It was a great opportunity for the young people we work with to talk directly to the MP about issues that affect them and for staff to celebrate and discuss their contribution to helping children and families across Rotherham.”

Rotherham Young Carers project currently supports about 100 children and teenagers each year who have to juggle schoolwork and spending time with friends with their duties helping relatives.

However, Barnardo’s believes the number is the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Ms Champion was elected in November after the resignation of previous MP Denis MacShane.