Four Wiltshire young carers are featured in a video that will be shown as part of an awareness raising initiative by Spurgeon’s children’s charity at The Atrium, County Hall, Trowbridge on Young Carers Awareness Day (Thursday 26 January from 9-4.30pm).
Visitors will be able to learn more about the work of the charity that supports around 600 young carers in the region. Official figures show there are 16,118 young cares in the South West region, but Spurgeons believe this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Jill Bourne, Spurgeons Children’s Services Manager in Melksham, said: “It’s vital that we raise awareness of the issue of Wiltshire’s hidden young carers so they can get the support they deserve. If they don’t receive support, they are more likely to have lower attendance at school as they get older, are more likely to experience issues with drugs and substance misuse and mental health issues.”
Spurgeons hope that Young Carers Awareness Day will encourage people to visit their stand at The Atrium to find out more about their work with young carers across the region including Cameron (12). He cares for his brother James (4) who is the only child in the world with a condition called Chromosome Deletion 16922-1 which causes severe learning difficulties.
Cameron looks after James by playing with him and sometimes feeding him through a feeding tube in his stomach. Cameron said: “By being a young carer and doing chores I’ve learnt a lot. Sometimes I play with James and he is in his own world but sometimes he smiles at me which is good. Spurgeons Young Carers is good because they get you out of the house and take you out on trips and do things like cooking and canoeing.”
The video also features Archie (10) from Devizes who looks after his mum who has Fibromyalgia that causes chronic pain across the body; and Emmy (13) and her sister Lily Mae (7) from Trowbridge, who helps look after their wheelchair bound dad.
The video was commissioned by Wiltshire Council, which is also supporting the initiative at The Atrium. “Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children’s services said: “These young people are the unsung heroes who care for their families and take on responsibilities at an early age – a challenge many adults would find difficult. This is an opportunity for their stories to be heard and to help increase understanding.”
Photo: Linda Mence, Senior Practitioner for Spurgeons UK – Cameron – Cllr Laura Mayes, cabinet member for Children’s Services.