CARER Support Wiltshire has its young carer team out visiting Wiltshire schools and colleges this week for Young Carer Awareness Day tomorrow (January 30). The team will be raising awareness of young carers and encouraging educators to become more young carer aware.

A young carer is anyone under the age of 18 who is looking after someone else. It could be a parent, sibling or grandparent who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.

The caring role can take many different forms, from practical tasks such as cooking, housework or shopping, to physical care such as helping someone out of bed, to emotional support.

Meg, aged 20 and Connor aged 16, from Marlborough, are siblings who are carers for their mum who has diabetes and regularly suffers from hypos and diabetic comas, especially during the night.

“When I first registered with Carer Support Wiltshire and accessed support I didn’t think I would be able to go to university,” said Meg. “I suffered with high levels of anxiety and worried about who would look after mum. I wanted Connor to be able to focus on his school studies and not have the responsibility passed onto him.

"The support I have gotten from Carer Support Wiltshire made the decision and transition of going to university easier and less stressful. Carer Support Wiltshire provided me with guidance and help through my university application and also helped with application for a bursary which the money from has reduced stress and worry from university life. Most importantly they provided me with reassurance that if I were to go to university I was not on my own if anything were to go wrong. If I needed someone to talk to there were people to listen and support me but most importantly there were people to support my brother and my mother whilst I was gone. "Without the knowledge that there was support for my brother and that he would not be left to do everything I would never have left. Carer Support Wiltshire made the decision to go to university much easier and helped ease the guilt I was feeling about going, I owe them a lot."

The family was helped to access additional support and Meg is now studying at Plymouth University also thanks to help in applying for grants to help her finance her studies.

Connor is taking GCSEs later in the year and, like Meg, doesn’t know if it will be possible to go to university as the last child left at home.

Connor said: "Me and my sister Meg are full time carers for my mum. We help around the house with cooking, cleaning, shopping, as well as helping with tasks she struggles with like getting dressed, reading, organising medications, managing medical equipment and helping her in medical emergencies. Young carers have helped me with so much. They’ve helped organise things at school, taken me on activities as a break from school and generally given me all round support. In the future, I hope to go to college and then hopefully university without worrying about leaving my mum at home."

CSW transition assessment worker, Rachel Hamblin is assisting to provide access to college in September.

She said: “Many of our young and young adult carers are unaware of the support that Carer Support Wiltshire can provide with accessing further and higher education. Every year we have been able to support more and more young carers who would not have even dreamed it was a possibility to go to university.”

Recent research shows that as many as one in five secondary school children may be a young carer. Caring for someone can be very isolating and stressful for a young person especially as they may feel they have to keep their situation secret, for fear of being different to their peers or even being taken away from their families.

According to Carers Trust data, 23 per cent of young carers feel their caring role has stopped them from making friends and two in three have been bullied in school. The average young carer will miss or cut short 48 school days due to their caring responsibilities.

Find out more at CSW have a website specially for 16-25 year olds at