A group of young carers (children caring for someone who is sick or disabled) from across the county were guests of honour last week at a special reception at County Hall in Preston. The majority of the young people present received support from the Lancashire Young Carers Service, which is run by leading children’s charity Barnardo’s from Blackburn, and funded by Lancashire County Council.
County Councillor John Shedwick, Chairman of Lancashire County Council, welcomed the young people and other guests to County Hall and thanked the carers for all they do.
There are estimated to be over 4000 young unpaid carers in Lancashire (average age: 12).
Two young carers, Sophie from Ribble Valley and Matthew from Chorley, gave short presentations about their experiences.
Another young carer supported by Barnardo’s who attended the event was David (14). Ever since he can remember, David has been caring for his mother who suffers from severe asthma, a heart condition and diabetes, and his younger brother, who has been diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
While other boys his age are playing football or getting on with their homework, with a view to a career or further education, David is often too busy being a carer to think about much else. But with Barnardo’s help he attends a young carer's group every week and fun outings, which Barnardo's organise for David and the other young carers they are in touch with.
Representatives from Barnardo’s attended the reception at County Hall, along with other guests which included County Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children and Schools, and County Councillor Geoff Driver, leader of the county council.
Councillor Shedwick said: "Working alongside other organisations such as Barnardo’s, the county council supports young carers. Like all carers, they need recognition, guidance and support.
"The young carers at this event ranged from just six years old to teenagers. There's no question that being carers has a significant impact on their lives. It's important to thank them for what they do to help others."
Joanne Welsh, children service manager for Barnardo’s Lancashire Young Carers Service, said: "At Barnardo's we are so proud to support the young carers we work with, they are truly amazing individuals who give their time and efforts willingly without question. It was wonderful to celebrate their achievements at this event."
If you are a young carer and need some help and support then you can contact Barnardo's on 01254 504 930 or Carers Lancashire on 0345 688 7113 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a 12 year old, however, Blackburn is rather far away. Lancaster & Morecambe Young Carers project is based at Signposts in Morecambe. Tel: 01524 419597