Children across North Yorkshire who look after a loved one with an illness or disability have received a boost – just as many face up to one of the most challenging periods in their lives.
The start of an exhaustive programme of GCSE and A-Level examinations brings added pressures for the growing number of youngsters in the county who juggle schoolwork with the day-to-day demands of caring for a parent, brother or sister.
Now the charity Carers’ Resource, with offices in Harrogate, Ripon and Skipton, is marking a decade of support for young carers across the county by working with them on shaping a range of services for the next ten years.
Its future has been strengthened by a recent influx of financial support from the community, which given the charity a strong platform which to take its specialist support into a new era.
This has been spearheaded by the prestigious award of funds from Carers Trust and the Cooperative Society to kickstart a new two-year project to support young adult carers with the mission to improve their life chances and to help them to make a positive transition to adulthood.
And, in another endorsement of its work with children and families, the charity has recently been selected by the Department of Education and the Council for Disabled Children to play a key role in a major research project.
A team from the Carers’ Resource which explores the needs of youngsters with disabilities will evaluate how the Government’s £30m national programme of independent support will help parents and young people with special needs in North Yorkshire improve their life chances.
Anne Smyth OBE, founding director of the Carers’ Resource, said: While we live in a growing, ageing population where the role of the carers has never been so important.
yet the unique needs of young carers living in our community and playing such a crucial role in family life still often goes overlooked.
The next few weeks highlight the relentless pressures many of them face, showing maturity beyond their years by actively caring for a family member one minute, while revising and sitting an exam the next.
The Carers’ Resource helps young carers looking after a parent or brother or sister in a number of ways, such asoffering one-to-one mentoring at difficult times; arranging fun trips and a young carer youth club to give them a much-needed break; and encouraging and supporting them to stay on at school and achieve their potential.
Mrs Smyth added: As well as a being caring charity we are also a listening one and, thanks to the generosity shown by the local community in supporting our work, we are proud to work with young carers to ensure our future programme of support for them matches their changing needs and demands.
Their views will be pivotal in developing and extending our services, cementing our position as a leading provider of advice, guidance and support to a most deserving part of our population.