'Carers card' among plans to support Hartlepool young carers
Town leaders have called for more support for young carers – including raising the idea of a ‘carers card’ to help aid their needs.
A young carer is anyone under the age of 18 who looks after a relative, or friend, with a debilitating condition – including illness, disability or drugs or alcohol misuse
Danielle Swainston, council assistant director for children and joint commissioning, said: “There’s a lot of carers, whether that be young carers or adult carers, that don’t consider themselves as carers.
“The conversations we’ve had with carers is that they don’t want to be seen as a carer, so they do not want to be put on a register as a carer.
“Young carers when they gave feedback said they would really like to look at young carer cards, just so there is some sort of understanding about what that might mean and the nature of what there situation is.”
Ms Swainston was speaking as Hartlepool Borough Council children’s services committee discussed the proposed carers strategy 2019-2024, highlighting the importance of support from health and education authorities.
She said consultations were carried out with young carers, with secondary school students raising the idea of a dedicated carers’ card.
She added Hartlepool Carers, a charity supporting local carers, was looking to work with GPs to develop a greater understanding.
Coun Lesley Hamilton said: “One of the biggest problems is GPs and health authorities not tapping in and not sharing information, so there is a barrier there.”
The charity was praised for doing ‘everything they can’ to support young carers and allowing them to access any support they require.
Education bosses said they strive to understand and become aware of children who could be facing the pressure of being a carer.
Jo Heaton, executive headteacher for the federation of St. Peter’s Elwick Church of England and Hart Primary Schools, said :”It could flag up in a variety of ways.
“It could be attendance, punctuality, actual presentation of the child, either the social presentation or the physical presentation.
“I think one of the benefits we have in primary is we work so closely with their families anyway that we would be aware. We know their families inside out.”