Thursday, 26 November 2015

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Cumbrian teenager happy to help when younger brother needs care

For most young carers the motivation to help look after their parents or siblings is born out of love.

Joe Currie photo
Joe Currie helps look after brother Ben

In 15-year-old Joe Currie’s case the will to care came from brotherly love.

Joe, from Penrith, helps his mum Alison and step-dad Robert, look after 12-year-old brother Ben, who has had cerebral palsy since he was born.

The condition affects the movement in his legs, meaning in the past he has needed help to walk or be taken to places.

Over the last few years with mum and step-dad tied up with looking after Ben, Joe has stepped up to help around the house and take his brother out, giving the rest of his family a rest while having the opportunity to have some brothers-only time.

Like many others in his position, Joe does not consider himself a ‘young carer’ and said: “I have always just done it.

“I haven’t really thought much about it, I just wanted to help my brother,” he added.

Joe has become something of a general helping hand at home, assisting with bathing Ben, taking him around in his wheelchair or carrying him outside.

“He generally pitches in with what needs to be done,” said Alison. “We have always just done it, it is just the norm to us. When Ben was little all my time was spent with him so Joe missed out on some of my time in that way. But that was just how it was.”

Despite Joe’s extra responsibilities he has not had to miss out too much on his social life. More often than not he’ll have his friends over to his place, rather than going out.

“They had to come here more because I might have had to help out with Ben. So it was that rather than me going out,” said Joe.

Alison added: “There have been times in the past where Joe has asked if we can go somewhere but we haven’t been able to take Ben. So we haven’t been able to go to some places as a full family.”

Ben’s condition has improved recently, so Joe’s responsibility has decreased. However, Joe can still be seen helping Ben with homework and in any other way he can.

Alison praised her son for the help he has given the family.

“A lot of lads his age would say they are not doing it. But he has never grumbled. Many would say that they are going out with their mates when Ben wanted to go to the park. He never makes a fuss of it.”

Our Give Them A Break appeal aims to raise enough money to send young carers like Joe from Eden, Carlisle and west Cumbria on respite breaks. He backed the campaign and said: “It is nice to get out with people and know you’re not the only one going through that.”

The News & Star Give Them A Break campaign aims to raise around £20,000 to fund days out and short breaks for hundreds of young children. Please help.

Send a cheque to Eden Carers at The Office, Mardale Road, Penrith, CA11 9EH or to Anne Pickles at Cumbrian Newspapers, Newspaper House, Dalston Road, Carlisle, CA2 5UA.

To donate online, go to


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