Young carers are children and young people under 18 who regularly look after someone in their family who has an illness, a disability, or who is affected by mental ill-health or substance misuse. They provide ongoing care and emotional support.

A Young Carer becomes vulnerable when the level of care-giving and responsibility to the person in need of care becomes excessive or inappropriate for that child, with risk to their emotional or physical wellbeing, social networks, educational achievement, and or life chances.

The Somerset Young Carers Project is part of the Targeted Youth Support Service. The project supports Young Carers by:

  • Identifying and supporting Young People with caring responsibilities, providing respite through breaks.
  • Support Young Carers to reduce inappropriate levels of care
  • Promoting recognition and awareness of Young Carers needs and achievements
  • Working alongside other agencies to develop schemes and services which support Young Carers.

Somerset Young Carers Project offers a range of support and advice for young carers including advocacy, support groups, respite and activities. They can also support schools to meet the needs of young carers by providing:

  • Awareness-raising assemblies and staff training
  • Help to establish a Young Carers Champion from the school staff
  • Help to develop a programme of support for young carers that allows them to feel heard and valued. This could include, offering a regular drop-in session, developing ways to help young carers complete homework and attend school regularly, ways of helping them keep in touch with the person they care for during the school day.

The service is free, but you may have to contribute with the cost of any trips or activities. To find out more phone Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224.

Here are links to more information that might help you.