Today, Thursday 25th January, marks National Young Carers Awareness Day, and to highlight this, St Helens’ Young Carers Centre has been working with local schools to reach out to the estimated 1,550 children and young people in the borough who may be caring for family members without support.
Based in Cotham Street, the St Helens’ Young Carers Centre – which is partly funded by St Helens Council – supports over 450 young carers aged 6 to 18 years of age to cope better when caring for a family member who has an illness, disability, or addiction.
Over the past few weeks during the build up to National Young Carers Awareness Day, School Involvement Officer from the centre, Ann-Marie Leather, has been delivering assemblies to schools across the borough to explain what a young carer is and what support is on offer if a pupil suspects they are a young carer.
Since introducing these assemblies over two years ago, this has led to a number of schools in St Helens achieving the Nationwide ‘Young Carers in School’ Award, including St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School which has a Young Carers Lead based in school to promote and inform students, staff, governors and families about the role of young carers and how they are a vital part of our school community.
Speaking out about the importance of young carers coming forward after Ann-Marie’s assembly at St Cuthbert’s, Headteacher Catherine Twist said:
“Many young people at St Cuthbert’s have caring responsibilities and some will be hidden, not identified as Young Carers. By promoting Young Carers in school we aim to get the message out to all concerned that additional support is available and that there are people in school and the town to help individuals, not just with their studies, but in other ways too.”
If you are a young carer unknown to St Helens’ Young Carers Centre, please get in touch with the team by calling 01744 677279 – or visit www.sthelensyoungcarers.org
Main photo – Catherine Twist (right) and Anne-Marie Leather with teacher Karen Tierny (left) and St Cuthbert’s students.