When younger family members (up to 18 years) provide extra care and support for a relative due to a disability, ill health, or substance misuse problems, we often refer to them as young carers.
They might be providing care to a parent, brother or sister, a grandparent or other relative. When a parent is unable to cope due to ill health or disability, their older children often take on the job of caring for younger siblings.
Responsibilities often include shopping, housework, giving medication, personal care and if they are caring for a parent with mental health problems for instance, providing emotional support.
Young carers often say that they find their caring role very rewarding but if their responsibilities become too great, interfering with other activities such as schooling or socialising with friends, they may need some support themselves.
If you know of a child with caring responsibilities and are worried about the level or type of care they are providing, or simply want to find out about support that might be available, contact Swindon Young Carers on 01793 531133.
They are based within the Swindon Carers Centre, 1 Wood Street, Swindon, SN1 4AN and run a number of support groups for young carers of different ages. Transport to the groups can be provided if necessary.
You can also contact the Children’s Referral team on 01793 466903 for advice and information.
Other sites that may be of interest to you can be found on the NHS choices website under carers direct/young carers.