A resource pack for schools aimed at raising awareness of young carers in Edinburgh has been launched today (Wednesday 30 May 2012).
The pack has been developed for secondary schools by Edinburgh Young Carers Project and is funded by Edinburgh Community Health Partnership (CHP), NHS Lothian and City of Edinburgh Council as well as a number of other agencies.
Colin Briggs, General Manager of Edinburgh Community Health Partnership, NHS Lothian and a speaker at the event, said: "Young people who provide care at home, are often hidden carers and it is vital that they know they can access easily the support they need, when they need it.
"I am delighted that we are able to support young people and to increase understanding amongst pupils and teachers."
Children and Families Convener, Cllr Paul Godzik said: "Young carers can find that their responsibilities at home can impact on their school life and that is why it is essential that there is an understanding of the responsibilities they have. These resources will provide vital information for teachers and pupils to recognise and understand those needs, and ensure that young carers can access educational and emotional support whenever they need to."
Audrey Peacocke, Head of Service for Edinburgh Young Carers Project said: "Many of the young people we work with experience multiple problems, including poverty, poor school attendance and bullying. Often they prefer not to tell people about their home life for fear of making their situation worse. We encourage them to come forward so they can receive the support they need."
The resource pack is designed to raise awareness of young carer issues within Edinburgh schools and complements the Curriculum for Excellence and relevant national policy. The pack contains a range of useful resources including lesson plans. In addition, leaflets have been produced and are being distributed to all secondary school pupils in Edinburgh and professional who work with them.
In addition to this launch, a meeting of the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance, hosted by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, is to be held in Edinburgh on the same day.
CASE STUDYJack William Oliver Browning is 15 years old and has been caring for his disabled father, John Stuart (57) since he was five years old. John has a number of health issues, including cerebral palsy, rheumatic and rheumatoid arthritis as well as eyesight and hearing impediments.
John said: "I'm very proud of Jack who has helped me since the age of five. He helps me by doing the shopping as I can't always reach the shelves, by pushing me uphill when I'm in my manual wheelchair and carrying my photographic equipment when I'm working. It has meant he has missed out and has not had a normal childhood but he has also achieved a lot too."
Through his carer role, Jack has met many famous people including the Pope, Nelson Mandela, the Queen and Prince Charles. Jack and his father live in Drylaw, Edinburgh.
Jack said: "I enjoy helping my dad and I'm glad I am able to support him. He helps me too and is teaching me how to cook. I think the resource pack is a really good idea and will help to raise awareness and understanding of what young carers like myself do."
(Pictured John Stuart with his son Jack William Oliver Browning)