Young Carers

Young Carers

Spurgeons offers a wide range of services to support young carers, from mentoring and educational support to activities and trips away to give them much needed time out from their caring duties.

There are more than 244,000 young carers in the UK; young people who are caring for or supporting a family member with an illness or disability, in the way an adult normally would. Young carers can experience immense emotional pressure and many feel they’re missing out on fully enjoying their childhood.

Who are young carers?

Some young children, often from an early age, take on regular or ongoing care and support for another family member (usually a parent or sibling) with a physical or mental illness, a disability, or who is struggling with substance misuse.

  • The average age of a young carer is 12 years

  • Over 13,000 young carers care for up to 50 hours a week

  • Young carers are more likely to be bullied by their peers

  • Young carers are more likely to live in low income families

  • Young adult carers aged between 16 and 18 years are twice as likely to be not in education, employment, or training (NEET).

Young carers often have to assume a level of responsibility that would normally only be asked of an adult. The stress and anxiety that this can cause can leave them feeling isolated and unsupported. Many miss out on their childhood and youth as time constraints make it impossible for them to attend school or take part in leisure activities with their peers.

Spurgeons Makes a Difference

We currently work with over 1,500 young carers across the UK.

Spurgeons support these children and young people to overcome the challenges they face. We work in partnership with other agencies to support young carers individually and within their families in a range of ways:

  • Time out through groups, trips and activities

  • Information, advice and practical help for the family

  • Educational, training and homework support

  • One-to-one tailored support

  • Transition support

  • Mentoring support

What Others Say

“I come to Spurgeons because I can get a few hours away from caring and enjoy myself, you treat me with respect.”
- Wolverhampton Young Carer

"Spurgeons have a professional approach to their work and have clear understanding of the needs of both the Council and the service users."
- Local Authority Commissioner

children playing fortnite
smiling spurgeons staff
child writing down on paper

Young Carers share their story

Many young carers are hidden and do not have a voice. Young carers carry a heavy burden and responsibility with no one to share this with. It is estimated that 130,000 young carers are unknown, unseen and unheard. Keia share’s her story in the video below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I’m ill and my child has to care for me, do I have to apply to a special programme for us to get help from Spurgeons?

A. Not at all, we run a wide range of groups for children across England and we welcome young carers at all of our centres. We can offer one-to-one and family support, as well as a telephone support service, all of which can be accessed very quickly. Visit our Young Carers page to learn how to get help straightaway.

Case Studies

Coping with the stress of being a young carer

Play Bus Image of Holly
Erin, 15, is an only child living with her parents in rural Wiltshire. She is a young carer, helping her dad care for her mum, who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS). Erin was referred to Spurgeons by her school, when her parents mentioned they were worried that she was struggling with the stress of looking after her mum and becoming isolated from her friends. Through our support, Erin is now much more confident and is even helping and supporting other young carers.

Being a young carer to your whole family

Play Bus Image of Holly
Alex, 16, has been a carer since he was just nine years old. He spends over five hours a day caring for three members of his family: his mum, who has multiple sclerosis; his nan, who is a double amputee; and his granddad who has suffered from a series of strokes. Alex’s caring role is very demanding; for many people this would be too much but Alex is a remarkable teenager. Not only does he care for his family in between school but he also spends his limited spare time being part of Spurgeons young carers’ committee and volunteering for the MS Society..

Follow the story