Claire's story – a young carer
Tuesday 3 April 2012
The Easter holidays should be something that all children look forward to. It should mean spending precious time playing with their friends and going on family outings. However, for some children in Scotland, school holidays mean more time at home and home is not always the happiest place to be.
This could be for a wide variety of reasons. For example, it could be because they are a young carer.
There are many reasons why young people find themselves thrust into a caring role. Their parents may be ill, have a disability or mental health problem or be addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Claire* is only 10 years old but she has the responsibility of looking after her mum as well as her younger brother, who is five years old. Claire’s mum has been disabled for two years now which has meant that Claire, being the eldest, has taken on extra responsibility at home. Claire helps her mum by going to the shops, cooking meals for the family, keeping the house clean, dressing and feeding her younger brother and taking him to school.
Last year Claire really wasn’t looking forward to the Easter holidays. For her, school holidays meant more time at home looking after everybody.
“Since I was eight I’ve done the cleaning, helped bring my mum her wheelchair and I help her wash. I do all the cooking too and look after my wee brother because he’s only five and can’t look after himself yet. It can be hard but I love my mum and there’s nobody else around who can help.”
CHILDREN 1ST has been working with Claire for the last eight months, with Claire attending a Young Carers group, giving her support and the opportunity to meet other children in similar circumstances and to mix with children her own age. Our staff involve the young people in both individual and group activities aimed at helping those like Claire to have a much-needed break from their responsibilities and to enjoy their childhood. They are then much more able to cope when they are back at home.
This year, Claire is looking forward to the Easter holidays. She will be attending the Young Carers group, which will be running extra activities during the Easter holidays, giving her some well deserved time to focus on being a child.
“I used to get quite jealous when I heard about all the things my friends got up to during the holidays. I didn’t know what to say. Now I can join in and have things to tell them about.”
Could you help give more children like Claire the opportunity to enjoy their childhood?
Please give a donation of £25, or whatever you can, to CHILDREN 1ST, to help us to support Scotland’s vulnerable children and young people to have a brighter future.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the children and families we work with.
Last updated: Tuesday 3 April 2012