Young carers to receive support

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An Uckfield toy retailer hosted a special day for a charity devoted to giving young carers the support they need.

People were invited to drop into Kids Stuff, Bell Walk last Thursday as part of Young Carers Awareness Day and find out more about the charity’s work, described by a councillor as passing ‘under the radar.’

Wealden District Council chair Barby Dashwood-Morris visited the shop during the day accompanied by Josh Rose, a Young Carers’ apprentice and Wealden support officer Jo Rickwood.

Now East Sussex County Council has pledged to provide a more ‘joined-up’ approach to support the estimated 17,000 young carers - aged between five and 18 - in the county.

A new ‘working together’ policy has been launched aimed at ensuring young carers and their families get the support they need. And it will not matter how they come into contact with the local authority as departments will liaise with each other.

The new guidlines were issued to coincide with the Young Carers Awareness Day. This national event was set up to recognise the frequently unsung efforts of the 700,000 children and young people under 18 in the UK who care for a family member. The policy stresses that all the council’s agencies should be responsible for identifying any issues or needs young carers might have when they first come into contact with them.

A more co-ordinated approach between the council’s adult social care and children’s services departments is also planned.

The council also recognises that young carers and their families may also benefit from having a ‘lead professional’ – a single point of contact to co-ordinate the programme of support they may need.

Cllr Bill Bentley, East Sussex County Council lead member for adult social care, said: “Being a carer is a very demanding job and when the carer is a child or young person, it’s even more important they get all the help they need to carry out their responsibilities.

“Being a carer can impact on young people’s education, social life and other activities, but their caring role may pass under the radar, meaning they often don’t get all the support they’re entitled to. “It’s vital that children’s services and adult social care departments work closely with each other and with other agencies to ensure young carers’ needs are identified and met at the earliest opportunity.”

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