Posted: Thu 28th Jan 2016

Recognising Torfaen’s young carers /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jan 28th, 2016

Today is Young Carers Awareness Day 2016, a national campaign day to recognise young carers in the UK who work continuously to provide care and support to their loved ones. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Young carers are children and young people under 18 years old who provide unpaid care to a family member or friend who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There are currently over sixty children and young people registered with Torfaen’s Young Carers Service (TYCS). TYCS works with children and young people aged 8-17 and their families to give young carers a short break from their caring role. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Emily Collins, aged 15, from Cwmbran, became a young carer aged six after her mother Sarah was involved in a car crash, leaving her physically unable to do most day-to-day tasks. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Emily said: “I have to do all the chores around the house, and I have to give my mum her medication. As a six year old this was very difficult; I have gained a lot more life skills than most teenagers.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Sarah said: “We were referred to a Young Carers Social Worker, Nikki. We were very scared, but as soon as we met Nikki all our fears went away. The advice I would give to parents of young carers is don’t be afraid to reach out to someone. Young carers deserve a childhood.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Emily is part of the Young Carers Forum, which gives young carers in Torfaen the opportunity to have their voice heard and to help inform changes or developments in the service young carers receive. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Emily added: “I’ve taken part in cooking classes and day trips. I’m also completing my Duke of Edinburgh award through the Young Carers Service.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

TYCS helps Emily remember she’s not alone in her caring role. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Emily said: “Torfaen’s Young Carers Service allows me to get together with other young carers, where we all know we can be ourselves and talk about the challenges we face because we’re all in similar situations.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Executive member for health, social care and well-being, councillor Richard Clark, commented: “I am very proud of our young carers who can often work around the clock to care for family or friends. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Torfaen’s Young Carers Service can offer support to those who may feel quite isolated in their caring roles, and I urge anyone who knows a young carer or is a young carer themselves and needs a helping hand to contact the council.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

If you would like further information about TYCS contact Nikki Prince Iles on 01633 648113 or ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Torfaen Young Carers Steering Group is a group of adults fundraising for young carer’s activities, education and respite care. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Sarah Collins on 01633 321404. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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