CHILDREN and young people in Newport who care for sick or disabled parents or siblings are to benefit from a new ID card backed by the Welsh Government.
Young carers in Newport, supported by Barnardo’s Cymru, will be among the first to be able to use the cards to highlight their caring role to teachers, medical professionals and retailers. Similar schemes are to be rolled out in every local authority in Wales.
Barnardo’s say the work of many Young Carers in supporting relatives often goes unnoticed, despite the impact it can have on their education, mental health and social life. The charity organises social and sports activities to give young carers a break from their responsibilities and also helps them cope with the additional demands on them.
Jon Hilder, Barnardo’s team manager for Newport Young Carers, said:
“The new card gives them official recognition and will help people who come into contact with them to understand the challenges they may be facing at home.
“There may be times when they cannot get to school or complete their homework on time, or they might be worried or upset. By showing the card to a teacher they can start a conversation and raise awareness of their responsibilities at home.
“Many young carers are proud of what they do but some are also embarrassed to talk about it so having a card which they can show discreetly will help. It also conveys to health professionals why they may be accompanying a relative to a health appointment or picking up their prescriptions.”
Councillor Paul Cockeram, Newport City Council’s cabinet member for social services, said: “It is incredibly important that young carers who support their loved ones are offered support and opportunities to have time away from their responsibilities, meet their peers and join in activities.
“That has been even more important during the last year and I’m pleased that the Newport Young Carers Service has been able to continue that important contact by working ‘virtually’ with young people.
“One of the great projects that have been developed with the young carers themselves is the ID card I’m delighted that Newport will be one of the first areas to adopt them.”
Young carers supported by Barnardo’s designed the artwork and helped organise an official online launch <c 4 PM, TUESDAY MARCH 16> with senior politicians from Newport City Council and players from Newport County AFC. They will co-present the launch and feature in a specially made video.
The Welsh Government is providing £200,000 of funding for the introduction of ID schemes across every local authority in Wales by the end of next year, working in partnership with Carers Trust Wales.
Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, recognised the impact of the pandemic on young carers at the launch of the first cards in Ceredigion,
“From balancing caring during a national lockdown whilst also doing schoolwork at home and carrying out vital tasks such as shopping – I am very aware of how difficult their situation has been. That’s why I believe a young carers’ ID card is so important; we want young carers to be recognised, helped and supported to access services wherever and whenever they need them.”
Sian Harris, aged 16, from Newport, helps look after her older brother who suffers from various health conditions including cerebral palsy.
“Having a young carers’ ID card will help me in school,” she said. “Sometimes I might need to take a phone call or perhaps leave early due to my caring role. At times I find it hard to complete homework because I am too busy or upset. Having an ID card will help teachers to understand and recognise my caring role to give me more support in school.”
Ellie-May Glover, aged 15, from Newport, cares for her mum who suffers from COPD, asthma and diabetes and her grandmother who has osteoarthritis and diabetes.
Ellie said: “The ID cards will make a big difference to me and other young carers. It will help teachers understand that I am a young carer and if I get upset or worried in school I will be able to show them the card. Having an ID card may help in shops or pharmacies. It will help people to understand what we do.”
It is also hoped local shops and recreation centres will provide discounts for the hundreds of young carers expected to benefit across Newport.