Young carers juggling home schooling with helping to care for siblings
- Credit: Ian Burt
Young carers are being supported through lockdown as they juggle home schooling with helping to look after their siblings.
West Norfolk Young Carers supports students at a number of schools across the area, including St Clement’s High School at Terrington, near King's Lynn, where 26 are classed as carers. They include 11-year-old Year Seven pupil Robyn Webster.
Her first year at St Clement’s has been disrupted by the pandemic, while she is also involved in looking after her 15-year-old brother, who has learning disabilities and medical issues.
“Usually my brother is at school every day, but now he’s not, there’s a lot more care to be done at home, making it harder to find time for other things,” she said.
The support of West Norfolk Young Carers has definitely made a difference, she said.
"Obviously at the moment things are limited, so we’re having to do a lot of activities online, but in normal times they do group activities like cinema trips and fun stuff that we can do together, without family, as well as providing support with the caring side of things. I can’t wait to get back to school, though, as I really miss seeing people.”
Another St Clement’s young carer is Year 11 student Charli Gibbs, 15, whose older brother has special needs, and whose younger brother has ADHD.
“My parents run their own engineering firm which takes up a lot of time so I help out with general duties around the house, and looking after my brothers,” she said.
“The carers’ group has really helped, we used to have meetings every couple of weeks where we can chat and play games and just relax a bit together.
“It can be tricky sometimes, trying to strike the balance, but teachers are understanding. I just want to get back to school with everyone else, though. It’s very strange not being able to see everyone.”
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Sara Nurse, children and families' lead at West Norfolk Young Carers, said lockdown has affected young carers even more than most schoolchildren.
"For many of them, school is a release, their respite from caring duties, and at the moment they just don’t have that time,” she said. “Life has become a lot more difficult for them, they have so much to deal with and it can be heart-breaking hearing some of their stories."