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What is a Young Carer?

A Young Carer  or a Young Adult Carer  is someone who is affected by the health issues of a family member.

A disability


Ill health

Drug or alcohol addiction

A mental health condition



Every Young Carer's situation is unique to them. TYKES recognises this and works with the young person to ensure that their individual needs are met. Some of our Young Carers are only 5 years old. Some Youngs Carers have always had a caring role and others become carers due to a change in their circumstances. No matter what the scenario, TYKES is there to offer support.

*1 aged 5-18yrs with a caring role.

*2 aged 18-25 with an unpaid caring role.

The term 'Young Carer' will be used on this site to cover both of the above descriptions.

What does a Young Carer do?

It is often necessary for Young Carers to take on extra tasks within the household. These can include:

  • Caring for siblings.

  • Household chores.

  • Managing medication.

  • Paying bills.

  • Emotional support, and

  • Physical care.

These may appear to be 'normal', every-day activities but the extra responsibilities can have profound effects on the lives of Young Carers.

Who do our Young Carers care for?

Young Carers have a caring role for a variety of different family members. Often they care for more than one person.

The effects of being a Young Carer

The added responsibility of being a Young Carer can affect a young person in a number of different ways. A Young Carer can often feel:

  • Stigmatised.

  • Withdrawn.

  • Anxious.

  • Angry.

  • Tired.

  • Stressed.

  • Isolated.

  • Invisible.

These feelings can often have significant, negative effects on a Young Carer's life, such as being late or absent from school or work, resulting in poor focus and progress.

Young Carer skills

Due to their added responsibilities, Young Carers develop a bank of skills and coping strategies often superior to their peers.

  • Resilience.

  • Multi-tasking.

  • Problem solving.

  • Reliability.

  • Self-reliance.

These strategies can often lead to Young Carers going unseen and, therefore, being unsupported.

What our Young Carers have to say

TYKES helped me not to be so shy and make friends.

I have had a little bit of advice which helped me to get on with my family and friends.

It has helped me to not keep so many things a secret.

I love TYKES! It makes life easier.

TYKES gives me a break from being at home, caring.

I have been allowed to relax and have fun. I enjoy TYKES - it is a good place to have fun
(and no arguments).

I'm studying for my Highers but I can't start my homework until quite late and then I'm too tired to concentrate.

We can't really have our friends in because it upsets the routine and a routine is the only thing that gets us through what has to be done.

Sometimes I wonder what will happen to us all. My brothers and sisters are much younger and they couldn't cope if I go away.

When doctors and the specialists make plans for my mum, I wish they'd include me. I get resentful that they don't consider that I might have a life, and if they explained things to me I wouldn't get so scared.

Young Carers are forgotten children. We are the ones who are not able to join clubs, who can't make friends, who are constantly told off for incomplete homework or being late for school.

At first I was embarrassed taking my mum to the bathroom, cleaning her up, and bathing her. Now she's the one who gets upset because I have to do it.

NC 500 Animal Farm Time
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