Crossroads Young Carers Project

The scrutiny councillors reviewing support for carers in Swansea met with the Crossroads Young Carers Project earlier today.  The councillors were impressed by the hard work of the project workers – Donna and Sarah – to reach and support young people who have a caring role. 

The project offers support for young people who find themselves helping to look after a family member who has a long-term illness, disability, suffers from a mental health issue or a problem related to drugs or alcohol.

The Young Carers Project can: find out what the young carer needs; provide counselling, information & support; offer transport to youth clubs & activities; help others like school, understand a young carers’ situation; help with accessing local facilities; give practical support; help develop life skills; give breaks from caring and provide opportunities to meet new friends.

The project is funded in large part by a grant from Children in Need although this funding comes to an end next year.  The Young Carers Project also has  small grants from Neath Port Talbot Cymorth monies and Swansea Council.  The Project also has access to Grants for Young Carers from Swansea Council Social Services which can be used to pay for things equipment, extra tuition and activities.  The project also receives charitable donations.

72 young carers from Swansea are registered with the young carers project but this figure is not a true reflection of the numbers of young people who are in a caring role in the City and County of Swansea.  The 2001 Census identified 800 young carers in Swansea but this did not include in its definition of caring, mental health issues or drug & alcohol problems.

Some recent work has been done on identifying the numbers of young carers in comprehensive schools across Swansea and numbers were estimated at 900.

The project workers told the councillors that they have to use eligibility criteria to assess young carers for specific support like the young carers youth club and that the project runs a waiting list for the youth club.  Expansion of the youth club for young carers is not possible at the moment because of financial constraints. 

The councillors learned though that once a young carer is assessed the Young Carers Project draws up an action plan to help them and to sign post them to other services and support. 

The councillors were pleased to hear that the majority of young carers registered with the project were planning on going onto to further education rather than opting to become full time carers.  The councillors felt that this was such an important project which offered such valuable support services for young carers.

The councillors will meet with the Cabinet Member for Social Services tomorrow and will no doubt raise many of these issues with him.

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