Campaign launches to ensure young carers do not feel alone
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A new campaign recognising the efforts of more than 11,000 young carers in Norfolk has launched to provide them with support during the coronavirus pandemic.
Around the county, children as young as five are helping to look after or support a family member or friend, though many may not identify themselves as a carer, says Norfolk County Council.
The Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership has launched the Heroes at Home campaign to offer signposting and advice service for them and their families, with the support of Caring Together and Carers Matter Norfolk.
A new survey by Caring Together found 79pc of young carers feel isolated during the pandemic.
Julie Dawn Brociek-Coulton, Norfolk County Council’s member champion for carers, told young people they were not alone.
More: Meet Norfolk’s ‘hidden heroes’ of coronavirusShe said: “This is an extremely challenging role in the best of times and during the current COVID-19 crisis, we recognise that things might be particularly tough for many young carers, especially if family members are shielding. We want all our young carers to know they are not alone – we are here for them and our new campaign launching next week flags up the broad range of advice and support available.”
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For 17-year-old young carer Molly, she said she has felt increasingly anxious and worried about catching the virus as she cares for several families members, including some who do not live with her.
She helps to look after her dad, uncle, grandad and brother and has felt more tired as her caring responsibilities have increased due to family members shielding.
More: EDF workers sign up to deliver medication to Norfolk’s most vulnerableThe Norfolk Young Carer Forum member has been receiving regular telephone calls and takes part in online groups to stay in touch with other young carers in the area.
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As she now has to self-isolate, she is being supported by Carers Matter Norfolk to help her with other areas such as shopping.
Further support is available through Caring Together, which encourages young carers to make their voices heard through the Norfolk Young Carers Forum project.
Chris Robson, chair of Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership, said: “Now more than ever, it’s crucial they know they are not alone. Support, advice and a listening ear is available online or at the end of the phone and this campaign will point them in the right direction.”
For support and advice or a live chat online visit www.youngcarersmatternorfolk.org or call the Carers Matter Norfolk advice line on 0800 083 1148.