Carers Trust Solihull provide lots of support for young carers aged 5 - 25, however know there are times when you just want pointing in the right direction to help yourself.

Here you will find hints, tips and other services that can guide and support you in your caring role.

Your Health

Young cares often say that having someone to talk to is hugely important.

When you are taking care of someone else it is very easy to forget to look after yourself. Being able to help someone you love and care for can be a good experience but dealing with caring responsibilities whilst growing up can be hard work. Sometimes you might feel angry, unhappy, sad or frustrated that other do not understand how you are feeling or what you are going through. You may also suffer aches or pains from helping others getting around or pushing a wheelchair. It is important to get help to manage these feelings or to avoid injuries to yourself so you can continue to help care for your loved one.

What can you do?

You can talk to your doctor about what you do to look after the person you care for, you can ask questions about their illness and any medication they take. You can also talk about your own health, for example if you feel stressed a lot of the time. Anything you tell your doctor is private unless they feel you are in danger. Tell your doctor that you are a carer. Your doctor can help you get support, such as counselling or help from social services. Your doctor can also tell you who to contact in an emergency. Doctors usually assume you are old enough to understand how to help yourself once you are 12 years old.

Medical matters

If you want information it is important that you get the right facts about your relative’s health problem. Sometimes adults may think that children will be upset if they know too many details about someone’s health problem, but it is often worse not knowing. Here are some ways you could find out more:

  • Ask the person with the health problem. If they don’t want to talk about it, you could explain to them how it makes you feel by not knowing
  • Talk to the adults who look after the person. Even though doctors can’t tell you details about people they are looking after, they can answer questions about illnesses.
  • Call your nearest Young Carers Centre on 0121 788 1143 or contact NHS Direct via Telephone on 0845 4647

You may not know what all the different people who are involved in looking after the person you care for.  If not, ask them to explain. It is a good idea to keep a note of all the different people and their telephone numbers so you can get hold of them if and when you need them.  Sometimes you don’t know what the roles and responsibilities of health professionals are.  Click here for list of professionals.

Looking after your mental health

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

Help in Education

In most cases being a young carer might mean that you have issues at school or college. These might include:
• Missing school/college as you’re needed at home
• Not being able to concentrate in lessons due to worry or lack of sleep
• Not having time to do homework
• Having detentions after school, which you’re not able to go to
• Needing to get home for lunchtime to help get lunch ready or to feed someone
• Being angry or behaving negatively which gets you into trouble
• Arriving late for school/college or needing to go early
• Being bullied

Make yourself known – Talk to someone in school/college who you can trust. Most schools/colleges in Solihull should have a Young Carer’s Lead who will be able to give you the right kind of support and advice. They will work within your school/college, making sure that teachers are aware of the difficulties you may face as a young carer. They will develop systems of support in order to make sure that you receive the education you are entitled to and the support you need to get the most out of your experience at school/college.

Not all schools may have a school young carers lead in place, however there should always be an adult within school that you can approach should you need someone to talk to if you are struggling. Be sure to talk to your teacher or School Health Nurse in these circumstances. You could ask your parent(s) to talk to someone at your school about what is happening at home.

Telling your school may open up extra support for you including:
• Extra help or time with your schoolwork
• Extension of deadlines
• Special arrangement about what time you can arrive at school
• Contacting home during school time
• Taking time out of class to gather your thoughts or speak to a member of staff

Introduce your school to the Young Carers in Education Award Scheme

Make your education count

How to get a Break

Young carers also often say that meeting other young carers or having space to relax, be themselves and take part in fun activities is really important.
Being a young carer might not leave you with a lot of time to yourself to do the things you like most or to spend time with your friends. So it is important to remember that you need to get a break from your caring role so that you can continue to look after or help the person you care for. Having fun, making memories and learning is an important part of growing up and key to having a good life around caring for your loved one – because you can have both!

Breaks and funding for families

Other respite breaks for young carers

Other respite breaks for young carers

Transport

It’s not always easy getting to places if there is someone in your family who requires care.  Family members may not have the time or own a vehicle to get you to and from places, or you may not feel comfortable using public transport yet.  Ask your local carers centre what your options are or see links below.

Carers Trust Solihull can provide transport to and from our activities if you can get to one of our pick up points in Smiths Wood, Chelmsley Wood, Solihull Ice Rink or Solihull Carers Centre.  Under exceptional circumstances we may be able to collect you from and return you home.  We also have a befriending project where someone can help you get used to public transport or find other ways of helping you get about.

Transport and getting about with mobility issues

Out and about with medication and equipment

What the law says about public transport for disabled people

Accessible public transport and products in the West Midlands

Money

If you are a young carer aged 16 or over, you may be able to get financial help to support you with caring, including individual grant funds and government benefits. Claiming benefits can be complicated and may affect benefits the person you care for is claiming. See links below for local agencies that can advise you properly.

Schools, colleges and training providers may be able to award bursaries to any student who faces genuine financial barriers to staying on in education and training to help with costs such as transport, food or equipment. Speak to your school/college about this.

For more information on the 16-19 Bursary Scheme visit http://www.education.gov.uk.

What benefits can carers get aged 16+

Help with carers benefits

Benefits calculator, grants, benefits and emergency financial support

Your local branch for face to face money and debt management advice

A free service for people in financial need.  Help to access benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and face to face

Local hubs for information, advice and support and support to access services in Solihull for you and/or the person you care for

Someone to talk to

Telephone helplines and online support are a good way to get confidential advice because you can choose not to give out your name. They are a great alternative if you do not wish to access your local carers centre or other local services.

It may not provide all the benefits of a meeting someone in person or meeting other young carers in similar circumstances but it can stop you from feeling alone and connect you with others or other services.
• Solihull Carers Centre on 01217881143. You can access a support worker
• ChildLine offers a listening service for children and young people in trouble or danger. Telephone: 0800 1111
• NHS Direct is a 24-hour telephone health advice and information service. It has an advice service, where you can talk directly to a nurse if you or the person you care for are unwell. It also has a health information section, if you want more information about a health matter or local health services. NHS Direct Telephone: 0845 4647.
• The Samaritans provides 24-hour emotional support for anyone who is feeling distressed. Telephone: 08457 909090

Speak to other young carers who are trained to offer you support.  Call Carers Trust Solihull on 01217881143

Online counselling and support for children and young people 11 – 25 year olds.  Contact Carers Trust Solihull on 01217881143 for more information

Confidential support 24/7

What to do in an emergency

If the person you are caring for falls very ill, or seriously hurts themselves, and there isn’t another adult nearby who can help you, you will need to call for an ambulance on 999. When you get through to the ambulance service, tell them:
• Where you are
• Your address if you are at home
• What has happened
• The number of the phone you are using
• How old you are and if you are alone with the person who is hurt

Have a plan
You can design your own plan for emergencies so that you don’t have to worry what to do if you end up in an emergency situation. Speak to your local carers centre on 01217881143 and ask for support with emergency planning.

Network West Midlands – Accessible public transport and products in the West Midands

Transport and getting about with mobility issues

Out and about with medication and equipment

What the law says about public transport for disabled people

A door-to-door service for anyone living in the urban areas of the West Midlands that struggles to use conventional transport.

Your Rights as a young carer

You or someone else can ask your local carers centre to visit you to carry out a young carers needs assessment to decide what kind of help you and your family might need. If you have already had an assessment, they must carry out another one if you or your parents feel that your needs or circumstances have changed.

You also have the right to get the support you need or be pointed in the direction of support – no matter who you ask. There should be ‘no wrong door’. This could be a health professional, a teacher or a social worker.

You have the right to have fun, to grow and develop and experience a positive childhood. You have the right to be safe and be heard and for professionals to act in your best interest when making decisions.

Network West Midlands – Accessible public transport and products in the West Midands

Transport and getting about with mobility issues

Out and about with medication and equipment

What the law says about public transport for disabled people

A door-to-door service for anyone living in the urban areas of the West Midlands that struggles to use conventional transport.

Training and Work

Being a young carer might mean that you may feel extra pressure to cope with the demands of caring and bringing in a wage. As a working carer you may need some support in the work place, e.g. access to a phone to check on the person that you care for. As a carer you have rights by law to help you get the support at work that you need. These rights include:
• The right to ask for flexible working hours
• The right to time off in emergencies

As well as these rights, employers might also offer additional support, e.g. you may be able to use leave, paid or unpaid, to cover periods when you may need to be at home caring.

If you are struggling with work or feel you may have to give up your job due to caring or if your employer is asking questions about your attendance or if there is a problem – talk to them and explain your situation so they can understand and help you.

Solihull Carers Centre also have specialist workers who can assist you to explore and access training and work or talk to your employer.

Network West Midlands – Accessible public transport and products in the West Midands

Transport and getting about with mobility issues

Out and about with medication and equipment

What the law says about public transport for disabled people

A door-to-door service for anyone living in the urban areas of the West Midlands that struggles to use conventional transport.

Future Planning

As a young carer, you may feel that it is difficult to look forward to what you might want to achieve in the future. It may be difficult to think of what your hopes and dreams are because of your current situation and you may even feel that there isn’t much point. However, it’s important to remember that everyone can have hopes and dreams. They are the things that help us plan ahead and strive for the things that we really want out of life.

What are your hopes and dreams?

Is there anything you want to change about your life?

What are the things that are stopping you from doing this?

Do you want to go to college, university, training course or get a job?

There is support to explore and achieve this.  See links below for where to go.

Network West Midlands – Accessible public transport and products in the West Midands

Transport and getting about with mobility issues

Out and about with medication and equipment

What the law says about public transport for disabled people

A door-to-door service for anyone living in the urban areas of the West Midlands that struggles to use conventional transport.