A GROUP of carers aged as young as 12 were today speaking out at a Sheffield event to raise awareness of their role supporting family members.
Sheffield Council estimates there are more than 2,000 under-16s in the city who support people with disabilities, mental health problems, illnesses or drug addictions.
VOYCE – Views of Young Carers Explained – is a group of young carers aged from 12 to 17 who have set out to explain their role.
“We set up our group to help raise awareness about the issues that young carers face in Sheffield,” said Gaby Wattam, 16.
“Schools, health services and social services can make a real difference to how young carers are supported.
“This event is being put on to raise awareness of what we need, from the young carers’ card being introduced in schools, to Educational Maintenance Allowances and our rights as young people.”
Sheffield Young Carers project manager Liz Church said: “These are children who face daily pressures.
“These include helping a family member get washed and dressed, managing the household budget, doing the shopping or cleaning, or being a shoulder to lean on emotionally for a family member.
“These are responsibilities we don’t normally expect to grapple with during childhood – a time when most children learn how to play and have fun, make friends and learn skills essential for a fulfilling life later on.”
Today, from 4.30pm, the group of young carers were addressing professionals from schools, health and other support services at The Hubs Hallam student union building on Paternoster Row.
Members will talk about the daily challenges they face and discuss possible solutions.
They will also stage a play they have written about the problems they face.
n To attend the event contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0114 2584595.