Recognise the pressures facing overlooked young carers

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From: Anne Smyth OBE, Director, Carers’ Resource, North Park Road, Harrogate.

THIS is the most challenging time of the year when those children across North Yorkshire who look after a loved one with an illness or disability need our support like never before.

The GCSE and A-Level examinations bring added pressures for some of the growing number of youngsters in the county who juggle schoolwork with the day-to-day demands of caring for a parent, brother or sister. Carers’ Week nationally celebrates the role and commitment of all carers and it is significant that, this year, Friday, June 13, is the first ever Young Carers’ Awareness Day, providing a focal point for your readers to gain a first-hand insight into these challenges.

As a charity which has been at the forefront of helping these young carers for more than a decade, the North Yorkshire community can be proud of the way it has rallied to the cause.

We live in a growing, ageing population where the role of carers has never been so important. Yet the unique needs of young carers living in our community and playing such a crucial role in family life often go overlooked.

The exam season highlights the relentless pressures many of them face, showing maturity beyond their years by actively caring for a family member one minute, while revising and sitting an exam the next.

The wide-ranging support we have received from every corner of the community to develop and expand our work will make a real and enormous difference to these “hidden heroes”.

It equips our specialist team with the ability to offer one-to-one mentoring at difficult times; arrange fun trips and a young carer youth club to give them a much-needed break; and encourage and mentor them to stay on at school and achieve their potential.

As well as a caring charity, we are also a listening one and – thanks to this generosity – we have a strong platform on which to work with young carers to ensure our future programme of support for them matches their changing needs and demands.

From: William Doyle, Harrogate Road, Leeds.

I AGREE with your Editorial (The Yorkshire Post, June 9). The only time that carers are acknowledged is ahead of a general election. What I want to know is how carers can come together to use their collective experience. We’re not after more money; just recognition and support when we, too, need a break.