Somerset

Somerset young carers 'stressed out' by service overhaul

From left, mum Fleur, Bassy and Immy
Image caption Immy, 16, (right) says the county council needs to listen to what young carers say they need

Young carers say their voices are not being heard over the re-organisation of their support service.

Somerset County Council wants to use charities to run its service.

It comes after all staff at Somerset Young Carers left in February due to uncertainty over the team's future.

Carer Holly said: "I'm pretty stressed out. I'm not going to get that same support I'm going to need, especially as I'm in the middle of my GCSEs."

The YMCA is currently running the service while the council consults on new proposals it says will increase support.

Immy, 16, cares for her mother Fleur, who has multiple sclerosis.

"If I was an adult doing it, it would be easier because adults listen to adults and kids don't get listened to," she said.

"It's difficult being a child and not getting your voice heard because you're still seen as a child in their eyes."

Image caption Young carers Gracie and Holly took part in a county council meeting on 20 February to highlight concerns

Friends of Somerset Young Carers runs the service's social activities on behalf of the council.

Chair of the charity, Alison Adlam, said: "We would like to be able to continue supporting young carers in the county but we don't know how that might pan out.

"Kids get one chance of being a child and one chance at their education so we really want to advocate on their behalf."

She added that young carers told her the annual February half-term trips had been dropped and no-one knew what was happening with the summer activities and respite.

The council's cabinet member for children and families, Frances Nicholson, said: "There will be, and are, discussions ongoing and when we get to the point of bringing proposals to cabinet those will be public."

She added that extra assessments would be undertaken by social services to identify more young carers and increase support for them.

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