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Project aims to reduce isolation and isolation among 'hidden' young carers in Newham

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 January 2020

Many young carers do not seek help because they don't even realise they are young carers. Picture: The Children�s Society

Many young carers do not seek help because they don't even realise they are young carers. Picture: The Children�s Society

Laura McCluskey

A new project aims to identify hidden young carers in Newham and reduce their isolation and loneliness.

The Children's Society is working with teams from youth services, local authorities, education providers and young carers projects, with the aim of ensuring professionals can identify potential young carers within hard-to-reach groups.

It's part of a 15-month programme, which will run in 11 areas, bankrolled by the Building Connections Fund youth strand - a partnership between Co-op Foundation and government.

The Children's Society national young carers lead Helen Leadbitter said: "We know many young carers do not seek help because they do not even realise they are young carers.

"It is vital that groups such as armed forces families, faith groups, families needing welfare support or help with substance misuse and families living with stigmatised illnesses and conditions know about young carers and the support is that is out there."

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The programme aims to ensure anyone who comes into contact with such families and community groups know what to look for to recognise a young carer.

It will also provide well-being, confidence and resilience training and advocacy training to young carers so they feel empowered to raise more awareness in their own community.

Co-op Foundation head Jim Cooke said: "Young people say they feel lonely more often than any other age group.

"For young carers, looking after loved ones while managing the pressures of school work and friendships, means they can be particularly affected by loneliness.

"This project from the Children's Society will help young carers build new relationships and a sense of belonging, while empowering them to use their experiences to help make things better for themselves and others."

The Children's Society ran two events for young adult carers to help shape the project, with a number of them helping staff to think about how hidden young carers can be identified, explore what loneliness and isolation means to them and how best to overcome this.

Those young people are continuing to work with the charity throughout the project.

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