Skip to navigation

Fact sheet

What is a young carers service?

There are 85 Carers Trust young carers services throughout the UK. These services are part of a carers centre which is normally the main service provider for carers in a locality. Carers Trust Carers Centres are voluntary organisations - independent charities run by Trustees.

Because of the differing needs between adult and young carers, carers centres have specialised young carers services which usually support young carers aged 5-18. Across the UK, from Orkney to Devon, our 85 young carers services support over 25,000 young carers through the provision of clubs, activities, holidays and one-to-one support.

After-school clubs and weekend activities can be the only time a young carer has in which to act like a child in a week full of adult responsibilities. Young carers who have been bullied know that everyone who goes on an activity is in a similar situation to them – they won’t have to explain why their lives are different or make excuses for not always being able to go out and do the things other young people take for granted.

Some services run groups at lunchtimes in local schools to try and encourage those young carers who may not be able to attend the project at other times during the week to receive support. Providing transport is a big part of a young carers service as few families have transport of their own.

Young carers’ workers identify young carers within their local area and gain the trust of the child and their family. They work with the child to build relationships with support services. They provide a listening ear as mentors or counsellors, and are sometimes the only adult young carers feel they can trust. Young carers workers are catalysts for positive change in young carers lives, and represent someone that the young carer can depend on.

Importantly, young carers services work with the whole family and are widely seen by the parents of young carers as a lifeline. Young carers services help parents overcome the barriers that prevent them from providing the parenting they would like to and help them to access services and benefits to which they are entitled. Many families do not receive support from anywhere else.

Another important role of young carers services is the awareness raising that they do within health, social care and education, in order to enable services in these areas to help young carers more effectively.