An immediate increase in support for young carers is needed according to Montgomeryshire Liberal Democrat Senedd Candidate Alison Alexander.
Commenting on the difficulties faced by young carers Alison said: “The Westminster Government is failing to do enough to support young carers. Support was woeful even before the pandemic Started.
“Young carers are not given access to the Carer’s Allowance (currently only £67 a week), without their parents or guardians being stripped of child benefits as a consequence. Young carers support their loved ones in multiple ways, ranging from physical and practical aid, personal care and emotional support, to financial support in the latter years of their adolescence.
“As a result, many young carers (under 16’s) and young adult carers (16-25) are often forced to choose between caring for people they love or developing their own career or education. For some this results in becoming trapped in poverty throughout the rest of their lives.
“Young adult carers also frequently feel let down by official support networks, as there is rarely any transitional support available to bridge the gap between being a young carer and an adult carer. The
lack of social awareness is also an important issue for carers; it means that too many are unaware that they can self-identify as carers and access support. Caring is poorly understood by others, which increases the social isolation many experience.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have added to the burden already facing young carers significantly. Many have had to move home to care for their loved ones while others will have become carers for the first time, as family members and/or guardians experience the aftereffects of becoming sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 also means that the usual systems in place to help young carers in times of need, including the many charitable organisations, are not able to operate at full capacity, potentially adding to stress and isolation. The last thing young carers need on top of all the ongoing pressures is worries over finances and putting food on the table.
“Just last week Carers Trust Wales released a statement calling for sustainable funding and the prioritisation for the safe re-opening of face-to-face support due to a deterioration in the wellbeing and mental health of many young carers, especially now the respite of school has been temporarily halted.
“The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Conservative Government in Westminster to raise the carers allowance by £1000 a year and crucially we are also calling for the Carer’s Allowance eligibly to be expanded to allow young carers to access the scheme.”
Estimates by Powys County Council for 2020 put the number of young carers within Powys at over 1000, with the number having potentially risen since. The total number of unpaid carers in the county is estimated at 15,000.
If you are a young carer seeking support please contact either the Powys County Council Assist Team at: 0345 602 7050 or Credu Connecting Carers at: 01597823800