Young carers are children and young persons under 18 providing significant or substantial care, assistance or support to family members who have a disability, suffer from a chronic illness, mental health problem or any other condition with long-lasting care needs. They assume a level of responsibility that would usually be associated with an adult and undertake a wide range of caring roles and tasks, including emotional support, personal care, housework and household budgeting. While it has been demonstrated that caring can result in positive outcomes, there is a strong body of evidence showing the adverse impact of caring on health outcomes, social activity, educational engagement and employment opportunities for young carers. As such, children who live with and care for parents or other family members who are ill or disabled may require support in their capacity as children and/or as young carers.
Young carers are still very much invisible also due to the fact that many families do not recognise their children as ‘carers’, some children do not identify themselves with the caring role, and there can be a degree of reluctance, even anxiety, among families in disclosing caring responsibilities. Many young people assume caring responsibilities that might be overwhelming and they feel trapped in their role as there is a lack of communication within the family. It is therefore important that their situation receives attention at EU level.
What will TOGETHER do?
The Erasmus+ funded TOGETHER project, over the course of its 24-month duration, aims to raise awareness on young carers and to support them and their families. The main goal is to develop, test and disseminate three intellectual outputs:
- Awareness raising material to inform children and adults about how important it is to cooperate and be supportive with each other when there is a caring responsibility in the family;
- A training workshop curriculum for young carers and their families, to support the creation of an open dialogue about the illness / condition of the care recipient, the impact on the young person and how the whole family can respond to this;
- An e-learning programme for professionals about how to promote a whole family approach for to benefit of young carers and how to replicate the workshop.
The ultimate goal is to have a positive effect on families where a young member and caregiving responsibilities co-exist, in order to prevent/reduce the negative impacts on him/her, as well as improve his/her well-being, social inclusion and community engagement.
This will be done by helping young carers, their families and professionals to adopt a whole family approach, where:
- Members of the household (including the care recipient) are encouraged to communicate openly about the illness and caring;
- The condition of the care recipients is explained clearly to the younger members of the family; and
- Families are helped in building positive relationships.
TOGETHER project is implemented by a transnational partnership of 5 organisations from 5 European countries:
- DIAKONISCHES WERK BERLIN STADTMITTE (DWBS) from Germany, is a Non-profit institution with expertise in the field of young carers support (Project coordinator);
- EDRA from Greece, is a Non-Profit Organisation-Social Cooperative operating in the field of mental health;
- CARERS TRUST SCOTLAND from UK, is an organisation providing carer support services and focused on young carer;
- ANZIANI E NON SOLO from Italy, is an NGO working to support young people with caring responsibilities;
- EUROCARERS from Belgium, is the European Network of Carers Organisations and informal carers.
The next steps will consist in the analysis of the awareness raising material (books, videos, films, leaflets, articles on the young carers topic) in each of the partners’ country and the creation of innovative tools and materials to support young carers and their families.
Do you want to know more?
To find out more about the project and to get involved in our future activities, please visit our soon-available TOGETHER project website: www.togethereuproject.eu