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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Job Cumbria's young carers do should be highlighted not hidden

The role young carers play in society should be celebrated, not hidden away, a care chief says.

Kyla Hope photo
Kyla Hope

Kyla Hope, strategic lead and equality officer for young carers at Cumbria County Council, is backing the News & Star’s Give Them A Break campaign as we aim to raise enough money to give these incredible young people some well-earned respite.

She is full of praise for the youngsters and believes society must champion the fantastic job they do.

“The key thing in regards to young carers is to celebrate who they are and what they do so we can make people aware. We want there to be equality for them as children,” she said.

“We have little people that have to cook and clean for their families. So we are urging people that if something doesn’t quite add up with a youngster just to consider that they might be caring.

"We don’t want them to be stigmatised, they should be celebrated and know there is someone there for them.”

Children’s Services works with agencies across the county to maximise the support offered for young carers.

Kyla says if anyone thinks a child might be a young carer and needs help then they should get in touch.

“We will have a discussion and make sure that a child is never at risk. It might just be they need someone to talk to. We need to make sure their role doesn’t become unmanageable and put them at risk. We need people to help them if they are struggling or getting into difficulty.”

One area in which carers can suffer the most is at school. Kyla says the county council is working to change this by getting schools on board with a different way of thinking.

“They can sometimes be late to school or fall behind with their work so we have put together some policies for schools and asked them to make reasonable adjustments,” she added.

“We are asking things like maybe go and see the parents around the time of parents evening if they cannot get into school. Giving the child appropriate homework, so they still succeed but are not burdened by it. If they have a significant role then put together a personal plan, allowing them to come in slightly later or to phone home at break times. We also want a dedicated person for young carers in all schools, something we are working towards.”

She also praised the work of the young carers groups and the trips they organise.

“The trips they provide give them that bit of respite and the opportunity to be children. I don’t know what we would do without these charities.”

Kyla added: “Some of the children don’t really need a lot of help, some are really resilient but others can find it more difficult. Some of them don’t want any help, but we need to let them know we are here if they need anything.”

To contact Cumbria County Council’s young carers team, call 07884 476347.

  • 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. Nuclear Management Partners has already come forward with £5,000 to help.

Please help us help these boys and girls.

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.

Or donate at www.everyclick.com/edencarers

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