This UK Carers Rights Day, the spotlight is on the often-overlooked challenges faced by children and young people across England who provide crucial support to family members grappling with disabilities, mental or physical health issues, or substance misuse. Acknowledging the unique challenges these young and young adult carers encounter, the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre (CPEC) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Policy Institute at King’s College London (KCL) collaborated with Sheffield Young Carers and an advisory group of young carers nationwide for the Reducing Barriers and Improving Access to Support for Young Carers (REBIAS-YC) study.
In the heart of this initiative is an animation co-produced with young carers, under the direction of Dr Nicola Brimblecombe. This animation provides an insightful exploration of the barriers faced by these young individuals and what support is deemed helpful or lacking. Through in-depth discussions with over 130 young carers aged 9 to 25, the study sheds light on issues such as limited access to support, competing demands on their time, and a lack of understanding. The animation not only delves into these challenges but emphasizes the importance of consistent implementation of supportive measures, highlighting the critical need to listen to the perspectives of young carers as a fundamental first step in this transformative process. As Sara Gowen, Managing Director of Sheffield Young Carers, puts it, “Take a look at our animation, listen to what the young people are saying, and think about what you can do to help.”