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Are you a young carer?

Are you under 18 and looking after someone in your family who is ill or disabled? This may be a parent, a brother or sister or a grandparent. Maybe you help by staying at home a lot to be there for them, helping them get washed or dressed, perhaps translating and interpreting for them, or doing lots of cleaning, shopping and cooking.

If this sounds like you, then you are a young carer. It may seem a strange way to describe yourself, because looking after someone in your family may feel like a natural role. But being a carer means you have a right to help and support to make life easier.

Looking after someone can be stressful

It can be stressful as well as hard work looking after someone, even when you love them. And it can make it harder to keep up with things at school or to find time for yourself to relax, have fun or see your friends.

As a young carer you are entitled to get help and support from your council. The council will not be looking to stop you from supporting the person you look after, nor to separate you from that person. They will ask you what sort of support you would like to make your life and your caring role easier.

Support is available from the Early Help Teams in Family Services in the relevant borough. They can provide young carers with:

  • An assessment of their needs.
  • One to one support for young carers with a high level of need.
  • Advice to support young carers in their caring role.
  • Information about other support services and activities they engage in.

You can contact the council direct. Or, if you prefer, you can ask someone you know to contact them for you - maybe a friend or relative, a teacher, or your family doctor. Don't be afraid to ask - it is important to get the help you are entitled to.

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham:
Hammersmith and Fulham Family Services
Email: familyservices@lbhf.gov.uk 
Tel: 0208 753 6600/6610

Hammersmith & Fulham have information and guides for Young people with caring responsibilities

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea:
Early Help for Families Team
Email: earlyhelp@rbkc.gov.uk
Tel: 0207 598 4608 / 0207 361 4129

City of Westminster:
Children and Families Access Team
Email: accesstochildrensservices@westminster.gov.uk
Tel: 0207 641 4000

There are organisations in your local area dedicated to providing specialist advice and support to carers, and various other organisations and groups offering support and activities:-

General

Family Friends offers parent befriending and child mentoring projects and programmes for families in Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea. Call 0208 960 9099 or email info@familyfriends.uk.com

Our Time is a charity that provides support and interventions for children and young people affected by parental mental illness.
They currently have a multi-family workshop ("KidsTime Workshop") operating in Westminster at the Bessborough Centre in Pimlico.

Kensington and Chelsea

You can go to our page on support and advice for carers in Kensington and Chelsea for a handy summary of local support options.

The Family Information Service (FIS) provides impartial information and advice on facilities for children and young people aged up to 19.

The Family Action Young Carers Service provides a Personal Budget  for Young Carers who are keen to engage in an activity which promotes good health, for example they can fund gym memberships, dance lessons, swimming, etc. 
Phone: 020 8968 0535 or 07783 395890
Email kandc.youngcarers@family-action.org.uk

Westminster

Westminster have produced an information booklet for carers.

The Family Information Service (FIS) provides impartial information and advice on facilities for children and young people aged up to 19.

And you can go to our page on support and advice for carers in Westminster for a handy summary of local support options.

Hammersmith and Fulham

You can go to our page on support and advice for carers in Hammersmith and Fulham for a handy summary of local support options.

The Family Information Service (FIS) provides impartial information and advice on facilities for children and young people aged up to 19.

General

Carers Direct have videos, carers' stories and lots of useful info for young carers.

Carers UK is a charity set up to help the millions of people, including young carers, who look after an older, disabled or seriously ill family member or friend.

YoungMinds is a charity set up to support young people to look after their own mental health and also have support information for young carers.

Youth Access is the advice and counselling network and are part of a network of local services for young people everywhere.

The NHS has information on your rights as a young carer.

Spurgeons are a charity supporting children and their families, and provide specialist support and advice to young carers.

Childline are a charity offering support and advice to young people.
They have lots of advice for young carers.
And you can also call their helpline - tel 0800 1111.

The Children's Society provides information, advice and support for young carers across the country.

Barnardos provide support and information for young carers.

The Carers Trust's Young Carers website offers information for young carers.

You may know the singer Tulisa. But did you know that she spent much of her childhood looking after her mum who experienced mental health problems. In 2010 they made a film in which they talked about their experiences.

The Carers Network are the main organisation in Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster providing support, information, breaks and grants for unpaid carers.