Support for young carers
Young carers are children and young people, aged 18 and under, who provide, or intend to provide, care for another individual.
This would be on an on-going basis and may include physical, practical and/or emotional support. This may be due to a disability, long-term illness, mental ill-health or drug or alcohol dependency. It would also include supporting siblings if the parent or parents can't do the parenting role themselves.
Aberdeenshire Young Carers Support Service
Quarriers provide a Young Carers Support Service for young carers in Aberdeenshire. They can offer information and advice to young carers. Initially, they offer the carer a Young Carer Statement (YCS).
Being a young carer
Caring for a family member can be very rewarding, but also hard work. Young carers often have to look after themselves too, and can find it difficult to keep up with school work, go out with friends and stay healthy.
Sometimes young carers feel different from other children and young people and can be very isolated. These things can have a big impact. Difficulties at school can affect grades and future career prospects.
We have produced 2 young carer leaflets in different formats to help you, or someone you know, identify if you are a young carer. They include information about the support available for young carers in Aberdeenshire. The leaflets, along with posters, will also help raise awareness of young carers to professionals, school pupils and the public. If you would like printed copies of the leaflets and posters please email email@example.com.
Number of young carers in Aberdeenshire
The Carers Trust estimate there are over 100,000 young carers in Scotland - one in ten of the school age population. This suggests there may be over 3,000 young carers in Aberdeenshire. It's difficult to get accurate figures due to the hidden nature of caring. We believe there are likely to be young carers who haven't been identified in Aberdeenshire.
A caring role, if unsupported, can have a huge impact on your own health, both physically and mentally. For example you:
- may suffer from lack of sleep because you are up during the night
- may have a bad back from lifting and carrying
- might not be eating properly or getting out and about enough
- might find it difficult to concentrate and focus on things, particularly in school
- may find stress and anxiety can become an issue for you
Your doctor and school nurse or doctor are all available to help support you with your own health needs.
There is a Carers Point and Health Point in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary which can provide you with lots of help and advice, as well as links to other services for support.
Some young carers would benefit from more information about the health needs of the person they care for. Health professionals can help keep you informed.
Young carers also note lots of positive consequences from taking on a caring role, like helping you grow in confidence and developing important life skills.
Support at school
Schools have an important role in identifying young carers and making sure they have the same learning opportunities as other pupils. Aberdeenshire schools have a guidelines document for supporting young carers in their school. This is part of the Aberdeenshire Young Carers Toolkit: “Help! I’m a young carer but who cares for me?”
This resource guides your school through the steps needed to support you as a young carer - from developing an understanding of your caring role, to implementing your own personal action plan of support, to building a healthy school environment where you can flourish.
If you think you are a young carer, you can talk to a class teacher you trust or to your guidance teacher or school nurse. Staff in school are there to help support you in your caring role and to help make sure you can fulfill your potential. They can also help to identify other sources of support which may benefit you like the Aberdeenshire Young Carers Support Service if appropriate.
Young Carer Grant
Young carers aged 16 to 18 in Scotland who do at least 16 hours of caring a week may be eligible for the Young Carer Grant. A yearly payment of just over £300 to help improve young carers’ quality of life.
Young Carers Package
All young carers aged 11 to 18 in Scotland are entitled to access a package of rewards, discounts and opportunities, The Young Scot Young Carers Package. The package recognises the valuable role young carers play and supports them to make the most of their leisure time.
Due to the on-going Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, discounts in-store and for leisure venues are on hold, but alternative rewards to use at home have been added such as Netflix, Spotify.
Strategic planning support for carers
The Scottish Government is determined to make sure carers are supported to manage their caring responsibilities with confidence and in good health, and to have a life of their own outside of caring. Our Local Carer Strategies detail how we plan to support carers.
Carers (Scotland) Act 2016
The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 makes sure better and more consistent support for carers and young carers so they can continue to care, if they so wish, in better health and to have a life alongside caring.
The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 Jargon Buster for Young Carer (pdf 3.6MB) explains some of the words and phrases in, or associated with, the Act.
Multi-agency strategy group
In Aberdeenshire, we have a multi-agency strategy group. This group is tasked with making sure we implement the national strategy locally and we work effectively, in partnership, to achieve the best results for our young carers.