Do more to sup­port young car­ers

The Oban Times - - News -

YOUNG car­ers need much more sup­port and a coun­cil­lor from Mull has made it her mis­sion to make sure it hap­pens.

Coun­cil­lor Mary-Jean Devon, the pol­icy leader for chil­dren in Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil, has taken her cam­paign for a Young Car­ers Week all the way to first min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon.

Ms Stur­geon has said coun­cil­lor Devon’s con­cerns are valid and the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment will look at im­ple­ment­ing changes as soon as pos­si­ble. Coun­cil­lor Devon told the Oban Times: ‘My sug­ges­tion would be that we could have a Young Car­ers Week where ev­ery school in Scot­land would have the op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress and put right the is­sues young peo­ple live with ev­ery sin­gle day.

‘The life of a young carer is very hard.

‘I was priv­i­leged to be in­vited to the fi­nal day of the Young Car­ers fes­ti­val on Thurs­day Au­gust 6 in West Lin­ton.

‘The last part of the day was po­lit­i­cal speed dat­ing/mini surgery ses­sion.

‘In­vited guests were seated in groups at ta­bles. Young car­ers in groups of four to six then had ap­prox­i­mately 10 min­utes to talk to us about the is­sues im­por­tant to them as young car­ers.

‘These ses­sions were very in­for­ma­tive and I found them very emo­tional. I was very dis­mayed to hear that the ma­jor­ity of our car­ers feel that they are be­ing let down.

‘Some of the is­sues raised were: how schools could bet­ter sup­port young car­ers, in­creased time to com­plete home­work, teach­ers to be trained about young car­ers, rights for young car­ers, how be­ing a young carer im­pacts on their men­tal health and Ed­u­ca­tional Main­te­nance Al­lowance (EMA) pay­ments be­ing stopped if they are late for school be­cause they are a young carer.

‘The thread that seemed to go through all their con­cerns was that schools and the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem have to give more con­sid­er­a­tion to the life of these young peo­ple.

‘We have to re­mem­ber these young car­ers have been de­nied the nor­mal life of a young per­son.’

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