Taking Action on Young Carers’ Isolation
We deeply care about the voices of young carers and the challenges they face. That’s why Voluntary Norfolk fully supports this year’s Young Carers Action Day taking place on Wednesday 16 March. This year’s campaign is all about ‘Taking Action on Isolation’.
The pandemic put huge barriers in the way of how young carers became supported. Many young carers were forced to spend longer periods of time isolating at home and shielding their family members. Instead of weekly groups giving them the ‘break’ away from their caring roles the only way to support them was via Zoom meetings and doorstep care package deliveries.
One of the young carers affected was Leo, who’s supported by our partner West Norfolk Carers. While Leo’s family has always been grateful for the support they get, during the lockdowns Leo’s mum reported an increase in his anxiety. Long periods of isolation also had a huge impact on Leo’s social skills.
As restrictions eased, Leo signed up for swimming lessons funded through the Carers Trust ‘Time For Me fund’. Leo attended the first session very anxious and nervous but determined. Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength, and he’s been progressing really well every week during each session.
Leo’s story shows the value regular breaks from caring have for young carers. They are important not only for their mental health but also for their personal development.
Annie Blyler, Young Carers Support Worker for West Norfolk Carers, said: “We have seen a 70% increase in young carer referrals since the pandemic. The increased time spent within their homes and completing caring roles has clearly had a huge impact on young carers. We are so proud to be able to offer these fantastic opportunities”.