Are you a young carer?
A young carer is ‘someone under 18 who has a significant role in supporting or looking after someone else who is experiencing drug and alcohol misuse, illness or disability’. If you are between 8 and 18 and looking after someone in your family; like a parent, step parent, grandparent, brother or sister.
Every young carer’s situation is different but the help you give could include things like; shopping, cooking, laundry, nursing care (i.e. giving medication or helping someone getting up and down stairs) or help them get washed or dressed. You may spend time sitting with someone for company or listening to their problems. You might also be looking after younger brothers or sisters because your parents are not able to or because they have an illness or disability.
You may be the main carer or you could be helping someone else care. While everyone is different, lots of young carers have similar experiences and feelings. Sometimes it helps to know that there are other young carers out there who may think and feel the same way as you do.
There are lots of young carers across Scotland and the UK. In fact Scottish Young Carers Alliance figures estimate the number of young carers in Scotland is 44,000. Although through working in schools, young carer’s projects suggest that it’s closer to 100,000.
Lots of young carers feel good about what they do, but it can be tough too. They may worry about the person they care for or perhaps find it hard to join in with their friends because there are things at home they need to do. Some young carers find it hard to concentrate at school or find it hard to do their home work as they feel too tired. They sometimes feel different to others in their school and young carers are often teased or picked on.
However you feel about being a young carer, always remember that there are people out there you can talk to and get useful information or support from.
Help & Support from West Lothian Young Carers Project
If you look after someone, we may be able to give you some support.
We support many young carers in similar situations.
We can help you find out more about the illness or disability the person you care for has or maybe you’d like to know more about places you could get help. We can put you in touch with local activities for young people that you could join. Whatever information you need, we can help you find it.
Young carer groups are about having FUN. You can get a break from your responsibilities and meet other young carers. There are all sorts of activities on offer; like games, art and crafts and outings. There are Support Workers you can talk to if you have any worries. We run Senior and Junior Groups throughout the year.
Someone to talk to
Sometimes young carers find it helpful to see a Support Worker by themselves. You can talk about what’s happening in your life. They may also be able to help you join in activities that are going on locally.
Support in Schools
Young carers often tell the support workers how difficult school can be. We have a ‘Young Carers Champion’ identified in all the secondary schools in West Lothian and they can be a point of contact to our project. We also run lunchtime drop in groups at some secondary schools so look out for our posters.
Activities & Outings
We organise day trips for young carers to have fun and get away from it all and sometimes we go away overnight during the school holidays.
Meet the Staff
West Lothian Young Carers Project Staff are friendly and always happy to help. They can get you involved in group work or activities for young carers and help you meet other people your age in similar situations. The workers are also able to help put you in touch with other people, to help you with different support or where to go for different activities. Ask the worker about some of this, if they can’t help you they can find out what is out there for you.
You can tell the support worker anything and we won’t tell anyone outside of West Lothian Young Carers Project without you agreeing, unless you say something that makes us think you or someone else is at risk of serious harm. If this happens we may have to pass it on to someone else.
Referring to us
Each young carer must be referred to the project before we can start working with them. The referral form can be completed by a parent, social worker, teacher etc. When we receive your referral form it will be held on our waiting list. We will write or call you when a space becomes available and we will come out to visit you. This is usually arranged at home or somewhere that’s comfortable to you and your family. We will talk to you about your situation and find out more information and see how we may best be able to support you.
If you do not want us to visit you and just want some information, or to join our mailing list for newsletters and updates, that is fine – you just need to let us know what works best for you and your family.
Contacting West Lothian Young Carers Project
If you think that we could give you some support or if you know of someone
please get in touch with us by
Young Carers Quotes
Good to make friends and talk about what is on your mind
I feel more confident and more relaxed about meeting new people
My negative thoughts have changed into positive happy ones
I enjoyed meeting new people and had opportunities to take part in new and different things
I’m less worried now and go outside to play more
The project has helped me to get away from my mum and gave us a break from each other
It was good to meet others in same situation as me
I was always stressed and stuff but now I’m getting better marks in my lessons
Although I still worry about my mum when I leave the house, I think I’m more confident about getting out the house now
It was fun coming to the group and doing all the activities
I enjoyed having some time for myself
I have learnt I’m not the only person who has the same problems as me
I had lots of fun and feel much better about myself
I worry less about my mum
I liked having more time away from the house and it helped me cope better
It was a fun environment and I eventually stopped worrying about my family at home
Contact Carers of West Lothian for further information:
Carers of West Lothian,
LIVINGSTON, EH54 6AX
Telephone: 01506 448000
Carers of West Lothian Carers Centre is open from Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
Carers of West Lothian
Help out of Hours
Social Work Out of Hours Emergency Service
01506 281028 / 281029
Childline – 0800 1111
NHS 24 – 111
West Lothian Council – 01506 28000
St John’s Hospital – 01506 523000
Samaritans – 08457 90 90 90