Young Carers Awareness Day shines a light on the challenges faced by young carers and calls for greater support for them 

The 30 January is Young Carers Awareness Day; an opportunity to raise awareness about the difficulties faced by young persons who take on responsibility beyond their years and how others within the Kent community support them. The challenges for young carers stretch beyond the carrying out of tasks around the house; young carers are often disadvantaged as they are not able to socialise with their peers, leaving them open to becoming victims of bullying both in and out of school, along with the risk of their education suffering negative effects too.

Natalie Smith, Director of Grants and Impact, Kent Community Foundation, said “Research indicates that one in five secondary school children may be a young carer, although for many carers this journey begins at a much younger age. Caring for someone can be very isolating, worrying and stressful, and Kent Community Foundation is proud to support both individual young carers and the charities that are working to support them throughout Kent and Medway.”

Just two of the charities who have received funding via Kent Community Foundation to support young carers are the charities Carers FIRST and Imago Community; both make a huge difference to the lives of young carers across Kent and Medway.

Carers FIRST supports children looking after a relative or friend who cannot manage without their support due to physical or mental illness, disability and frailty amongst other reasons. They support thousands of individuals, including carers as young as five years old. The charity provides information, advice, guidance and emotional support, in addition to training and activities, to give unpaid carers an opportunity to have a break from their caring role and get the support they need.

This January, Kent Community Foundation awarded a grant of £4,000 to support a Carers FIRST project specifically for young carers looking after a family member.

Kent Community Foundation has also supported Imago Community since 2002. They deliver a range of innovative projects for children, young people and Young Carers across Kent and Medway. The Young Carers they support are under the age of 18, carrying out the caring responsibilities usually expected to be assumed in adulthood.

In October 2019, Kent Community Foundation awarded a grant £20,800 to Imago Community’s 'Joining Up the Dots' project, developed after a report showed that there continues to be many unidentified and hidden Young Carers within the county who need referrals and access to the services that can support them. 

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