Yesterday I took the voices of Sheffield Young Carers to Parliament. I secured a debate, which I led, sharing their experiences and setting out their views on how young carers across the country could be better supported. I pressed the Minister for schools to have a designated ‘young carers lead’ to effectively identify and support young carers, overseen by Ofsted, for GPs to identify them too, and for financial help.
I made the point that young carers are often hidden from view, and that the NHS ‘Commitment to Carers’ target of supporting 20,000 people falls far short of the 700,000 young carers estimated across the UK. Young carers – some just 4 or 5 years old – are extraordinary people: juggling caring responsibilities with school and all the other demands of their young lives. I set out the impact of caring on their lives:
I was pleased so many MPs joined the debate, with some sharing their own experience as young carers. They talked about the great work they’ve seen from local groups and showed the strength of support in Parliament for more Government action to help young carers. The Minister’s response was disappointing, dodging some of my questions and pushing responsibility away from the Government onto others, but I’ll continue to press the case.