Young carers supported at Council event
Abbie Houghton MYP and Cllr Faith Heptinstall
A Youth Conference held by Wakefield Council in support of Young Carers Awareness Day (31 January) was a huge success, being viewed almost 800 times online.
Sixteen young carers aged between 12 and 19-years-old attended the event, which was coordinated and facilitated by Wakefield Council's Youth Work Team who also run a weekly social, activity and support session for young carers.
The aim of the evening was to promote ways to access support and raise awareness of young carers, their responsibilities and the impact of the role on their day to day lives and emotional wellbeing.
The conference, attended by youth workers, Councillors, Council officers and health professionals, was opened by Cllr Faith Heptinstall and Abbie Houghton, the West Area of Wakefield's Youth Parliament member, who herself is a young carer.
People took part in discussion and activities on how to raise awareness, and what work can be done to support young carers.
The event attracted a large following on social media and was streamed live on Facebook from The Hut in Airedale.
Cllr Margaret Isherwood, Wakefield Council's Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said: "It is extremely humbling to hear the stories of these young carers and highlights how we need to improve the support to these young people and celebrate the role they play in society.
"We really want to raise public awareness of how to recognise a young carer and where they can access the support they need to maintain a good education and wellbeing."
Abbie Houghton, the West Area of Wakefield's Youth Parliament member, said: "We don't have the same lifestyle as other young people, our experience of being a child is completely different. We often have to grow up faster than other young people. Being a carer is normal to us and sometimes young people may not know they are a carer.
"We don't want to feel different from other young people or feel isolated but what we do want is support and to raise awareness of what it is like to be us."
According to the Carers Trust, the average young carer misses or cuts short 48 school days because of their caring role. And 39% of young carers they spoke to said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role.
To find out more about support for young carers visit www.wfyouth.co.uk/recognising-a-young-carer-accessing-support/
The Youth Conference can still be watched on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WFYouthOfficial/