BEFORE starting her job at the Warrington Guardian’s charity of the month, young carers coordinator Kat Lamey was unaware of the increasing number of children and teenagers in the town who care for a loved one.
The 27-year-old recalls her surprise at the level of responsibility they take on from such a young age but now knows only too well how brave and selfless they are.
She said: “I have been amazed by the maturity and resilience of young carers, how they cope with often very challenging situations and despite the pressures, turn out to be well balanced, enthusiastic young people with a positive outlook on life.”
WIRED Young Carer Service provides support to carers as young as six to help them cope with the strain of looking after a family member.
Kat, who first started working as a pupil advocate for children and young people with disabilities and additional needs before moving to the young carers team in January 2013, is never shocked by the young carers’ resilience and their ability to smile through the difficult times.
She added: “While young carers have the responsibility of caring for a family member whether this is due to illness, disability, mental health or addiction, they also have to contend with the issues that all young people are faced with.
“It should be recognised that although being a young carer can be tough, many report it to be a very positive and fulfilling experience.
“When working as a young carer advocate, I seek to empower young carers giving them the confidence to share their views and instil self belief that their views matter.”
WIRED provides activities which allow young people to step out of the pressures and responsibilities they face in their everyday lives for a short time to have fun.
Kat said: “Young carers can sometimes feel quite isolated and the group allows them to meet others in a similar situation, which for many is very reassuring.”
The WIRED Young Carers Service is currently on hunt to find new members to join its team of staff.
For more information call 633492 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week: We take a look at the WIRED Adult Carers Service and how it has helped the town