supporting young carers
what price a childhood?
Many of the UK’s young carers live without the security and support that most of us would consider priceless. Family circumstances mean that from an early age they are expected to care for someone else. Often this is because parents work long hours, or are victims of domestic violence, depression or substance abuse. Other parents are simply too ill to look after things themselves.
Young carers are expected to assume a level of responsibility that would normally only be asked of an adult. The stress and anxiety of carrying adult burdens can leave them feeling isolated and left-out. Many miss out on their childhood as time constraints make it impossible for them to attend school or take part in leisure activities with their peers.
Spurgeons know that these children need help to overcome the challenges they face. We work in partnership with other agencies to support young carers individually and within their families in a range of ways, including:
- Days off to have fun with other children
- Information, advice and practical help for the family
- Access to educational support
- One-to-one sessions with a trained Spurgeons worker
- Homework clubs and tutorials
- Befriending and mentoring support
fast facts about young carers
- There are more than 175,000 young carers in the UK.
- There are 29,000 young carers who care for up to 50 hours a week.
- Approximately 13,000 young carers care for more than 50 hours a week.
- The average age of a young carer is 12.
- More than half of young carers live in one-parent families and almost a third care for someone with mental health problems. 
- Young carers are more likely to be bullied by their peers.
- Young carers are more likely to live in low-income families.
V. bad day at school. So stressful, was trying not to cry in maths. Hadn’t had time to do homework and Mr Lambert had a big strop in front of everyone and told me I’ve got to get it done by tomorrow and gave me more as well.
Everyone laughing at me at break. They same I’m fake because I’m always making up excuses when I don’t get my work done. Obv. I can’t tell them about home. They won’t understand. Everyone will spread rumours about us and they’ll know dad used to hit us and that’s why he’s gone to jail.
Had to leave school early to take Jack to doctors. Mum didn’t come because she had to work again. When we got home she’d left a note saying she’s got to work the late-shift and can I take Jack to physio and then can I go to the supermarket and make the dinner.
No time for the homework again. I’m freaking out about going to school tomorrow. I am gonna get in so much trouble. Nobody to talk to and feeling really down.
- ‘Tina’, aged 15
Victoria, 12, has been a carer for the past six years since her mother Gail was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Following an operation to remove the tumour, Gail was left blind, disabled and needing to be fed through a tube in her abdomen. Victoria's father is away from their Bedford home a lot because of his work as a lorry driver, leaving her largely responsible for helping her mother to wash, dress and go to the toilet. She also prepares her mum's food and a complex cocktail of medications that are administered through a tube up to four times a day.