Young Carers aged 4–12

You might not realise it, as you are just doing what you do for a family member, but you are known as a carer.

A carer looks after someone in their family, who couldn’t cope without their support, such as a brother or sister, or a parent. There are around 700,000 young carers in the UK.

Why might my brother, sister, mum or dad need looking after?

They could have a disability which might be something physical (to do with their bodies) or mental (to do with their brains). If it is physical for example, they might need to use a walking aid or wheelchair, or if it is to do with their brains they might learn differently and need extra support, such as have autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

They could have a long-term illness that is affecting them physically, or have something such as anxiety or depression which is affecting their mental health (in their brain), where they struggle with looking after themselves.

Or another reason could be your mum or dad could rely on alcohol or drugs, leading to you having to help to look after them, or your brother or sister.

What do you do to look after them?

These are the types of tasks you undertake which make you a carer:

  • Helping with cooking, cleaning and shopping.
  • Helping with physical care, such as helping someone out of bed. 
  • Emotional support, including talking to someone who is distressed.
  • Helping to manage the family budget or collect prescriptions.
  • Personal care, such as helping someone dress.
  • Helping to give medicine. 
  • Helping someone communicate.

What we can do to help support you?

We understand you may need some help, to ensure you look after yourself and your wellbeing. If you don’t look after you, then you won’t be able to look after anyone else. We can offer: 

  • One to one support – where you can talk to the Young Carer Team about your caring role and how this makes you feel. Counselling is also available for those aged 11 and over.
  • Our wellbeing practitioner is available for individual wellbeing support. 
  • Help at school – we can come into your school to help support you. 
  • Information, advice and guidance – you can talk to the Young Carer Team at any time about anything you need help and advice with. Link to how to contact the team
  • Clubs, workshops and groups – where you can meet other young carers in a similar situation, make new friends and talk about any worries. 
  • Carers Grant– this is money you apply for, to be able to pay for something which will help improve your health and how you feel. This could be a new bike for example or money to allow you to take part in a hobby or activity like going camping, or to be able to do your school work on new technology. 
  • Carers card – you can use it as proof you are a carer and to help you get discounts at local shops and leisure venues. 
  • Social media groups – your family can join our open and closed groups on social media where  you can all meet new people, ask any questions and share any worries. 
  • Advice about getting a young carers assessment – the assessment will consider the impact the care and support you provide is having on your own wellbeing, as well as other aspects of your life, like school and seeing your friends. 

Please note our services for young carers are for those who live in Bedford Borough.  

If you live in Central Bedfordshire: 
  • – Contact Central Bedfordshire Council which run the service for young carers 
  • – Young carers in Central Bedfordshire can still apply for a Carers Grant and ID card from us. 
  • – Young adult carers can access our support in Central Bedfordshire, once they turn 18.

View a video made by the Carers Trust about young carers looking after their mental health and the importance of getting the support you need.

Your Superhero Strengths

We hope you feel proud of yourself and all you do. As a carer you learn many skills, that other young people might not have the opportunity to learn. These will help you develop into an even more awesome human being, to what you already are. 

Your superhero strengths you might not realise you have are:  

  • You are kind.
  • You are responsible.
  • You are resilient (being able to bounce back from a difficulty).
  • You are a leader.
  • You are independent (think for yourself).
  • You can solve problems.
  • You make decisions.
  • You have understanding and empathy for other people (you think about other people’s feelings).

How to get the support you need

Please contact the Young Carer Team on 0300 111 1919 or email young.team@carersinbeds.org.uk

Listen to the podcast series made by our young carers about the feelings and emotions they go through called Welcome to My World.