SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has attended the launch of a new awareness campaign which highlights the huge contribution thousands of young adult carers make to society – not least in Londonderry.
The charity Carers Trust, is launching the campaign to give the 375,000 young adult carers in the UK a voice – and as a call for recognition and support for young adult carers.
These are 14-25 year olds who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend who due to illness, disability, mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.
Young adult carers have many challenges as they grow up - in school, in further education, employment and in their social lives as they make the transition to adulthood.
They often have great difficulties fitting in the things their peers take for granted, alongside their caring responsibilities. The campaign sets out the key recommendations for national and local government, health, and education providers on how to improve the lives of young adult carers.
Mr Durkan said: “I am delighted to support the ‘Time to be Heard’ campaign and to help raise awareness of the huge contribution that young adult carers make.
“For many of them, theirs is a labour of love, but all too often they are – or feel – taken for granted by society if not their family.
“We need to think more about the opportunity cost to young adult carers of the service they devote. Jobs, careers and incomes sacrificed, family life compromised and their personal and social lives heavily curtailed.
“Young adult carers are often invisible in our communities – and the important role they play in caring for family members in Derry and throughout the North is often misunderstood by schools, colleges and universities, by employers, or by those in government.”
The campaign is based on ground breaking new research with Nottingham University which shows the significant impact caring can have on young adults in education and when looking for work - the first large-scale survey of this age group, with 295 carers taking part.