Helping schools support young carers in Fishponds
YOUNG carers at Bristol Metropolitan Academy are being supported by a charity set up to help them cope with the demands of their daily lives.
Carers Support Centre says children who care for a loved one are at risk of feeling isolated and can suffer from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
Research has also shown that they can struggle to keep up with school work and run the risk of low attainment.
The charity, based at the Vassall Centre in Fishponds, has helped the academy run two weekly support groups for the young carers. The groups, one for younger students and one for older, allow young carers to check in and share their experiences with each other. Staff also take young carers on trips to places like Bristol Zoo and Oldbury Court Estate, giving young carers a much-needed break from their caring responsibilities.
Andy Young, one of two young carers leads at Bristol Met, said: “We have seen the young carers who have accessed our support grow in confidence, be able to recognise the additional responsibilities they may have at home, helped them to manage school life and have seen them support each other.”
One student, 12-year-old Georgina Moyston-Jones, said: “The group helps support me and I get chance to talk about my feelings.”
A young carer is someone who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without their help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.
Bristol Met is among the many schools supported by the centre to set up groups, homework clubs and drop-in sessions for young carers.
It is one of 38 out of the 173 primary and secondary schools in Bristol signed up for the Young Carers in Schools programme.
With new funding from the Nisbet Trust, the charity now wants to support more schools and hopes others will sign up ahead of National Young Carers Awareness Day on January 30.
Young Carers in Schools is a national programme promoted by Children’s Society and Carers Trust, and hundreds of schools across England are part of it.
Kama McKenzie, young carers manager at Carers Support Centre, said: “On average young carers will miss a day of school each month as a result of their caring role, so the steps schools take to identify and support them can have a huge impact on their learning, wellbeing and life chances.
“You can help young carers by finding out if your local school is part of the Young Carers in Schools programme. If they are not, ask your school to get in touch with Carers Support Centre.”
For more information visit the Carers Support Centre website.
Picture: Bristol Met learning mentors and young carers leads Jo Howell and Andy Young with Year 8 pupil and young carer Georgina Moyston-Jones, 12.