Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a young carer?

If you are under 18 and are looking after someone at home with a medical condition, then yes. That person could be one of your parents, a grandparent, brother or sister. They could have a long-term illness or condition, they could have learning difficulties, a disability, mental health problem or misuse drugs or alcohol.

What sort of things do young carers do?

They do all sorts of things, like getting younger brothers or sisters ready and taking them to school, doing the housework and getting the shopping. They could help with dressing or bathing the cared for person, lifting them, sorting out and giving medicines or giving emotional support by comforting or listening. Whatever jobs young carers do, they have a lot more to deal with than your “average” young person.

Is it OK to feel angry or upset?

Absolutely! Young Carers are human just like everyone else and it is healthy to be angry sometimes. What isn’t healthy is to bottle it up and not talk about your feelings. If you are having problems with talking about how you feel, we run Lifeskills courses which talk about feelings and stress or there is the option to speak to a counsellor if you have deeper issues that need sorting out. You could always let your teacher or someone at school know how you feel.

How can Action for Young Carers (AYC) help me?

We can help you with all sorts of things, such as letting you know your rights as a carer, speaking on your behalf if you want us to and one to one support. We organise activities so that you can have a bit of a break from things, make new friends and most importantly HAVE FUN! We also work with schools to make sure that you get the support you need to do the best you can.

How do I make a referral?

We can send you a form to complete, your parent/carer or a professional such as a social worker, mental health worker or teacher can refer to the project on your behalf.

What happens after you receive my form?

We will email or send a letter to the person who referred your family and advise if there is a waiting list for our service. When a support worker has space for your family, we will either write with an appointment or ring to arrange an appointment for our Support Worker to come and visit you at home to talk to you and how we can help your family. If the appointment is not convenient, we will re-arrange a more suitable time.

Will you need to see us all as a family?

Our Support Worker will meet the parents or guardians separately to carry out an assessment. This is the bit where we talk to you about who we are what we do and how we can help. We work in partnership with you to tailor our service to your needs. The Support Worker would then make a follow-up appointment to meet the young carer or carers, to take out locally for an informal chat and get to know each other, usually over a drink and sometimes a bite to eat.

Will I get an activity every holiday?

We try to organise as many activities as we can for as many young carers as we can, but sometimes it just isn’t possible for every young carer to have an activity every holiday. We try to include as many young carers in activities over the holiday period as possible.

What about transport to activities?

We realise that not every family has their own transport so usually we will arrange transport to activities by Support Worker or taxi. Sometimes, such as a Residential or a large activity involving a substantial number of young carers, we may ask those parents with vehicles to help us with transport.

Who can I ask for information about my cared-for’s condition?

Your doctor or practice nurse should be able to give you general information about most illnesses and conditions. NHS Direct should be able to help as well on 0845 46 47. There are a lot of very useful websites which will give you more specific information and will probably have a helpline number or email address that you can contact for direct questions. If you are having problems finding information then you can always contact AYC and we’ll help you as much as we can.

What if I’m struggling to cope with homework and coursework?

Speak to your form teacher, learning mentors or school nurse and explain what your situation is. Some schools have Young Carer groups which meet at lunchtime or after school or they may have someone who is nominated to support young carers in school. If your school doesn’t have any of this, why not ask someone to look into it or set up your own club? AYC has Education Liaison workers whose job it is to go into schools, do assemblies and raise awareness, so we are trying to get as many schools to provide support as we can. If you want us to speak to your school, let us know.