The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Young carer’s challenge
● Chantelle gives insight to new demands presented by lockdown
An Aberdeen teenager has opened up about the challenges of being a carer for her mother during lockdown.
Chantelle Booth admitted it had been “challenging” but has learnt to adapt to a new normality, while also finding some time to develop her own hobbies.
Aberdeen Young Carers Service is a joint initiative between Barnardo’s Scotland and Aberdeen City Council – it was the first of its kind in the north-east.
The service has been supporting young carers who are experiencing added pressure.
Chantelle, 17, said: “It is more isolating and there isn’t as much freedom to get out. Lockdown has helped me realise more hobbies. I was always at home – it has pushed me to go out on walks more and enjoy nature and I’ve also been doing art.
“You need to be in a good mind yourself to give care to another person.”
The St Machar Academy pupil was a child when she began caring for her mother but was identified as a young carer two years ago.
There is a range of support available to ensure the health of young carers and the team has noted a significant increase in referrals since lockdown.
They were all offered phones to maintain vital face-to-face contact and a well-being fund was created to help with increased electricity bills, food shops and travel to supermarkets. Food parcels for those with dietary needs were also made up.
Socially-distanced support meetings have also taken place, along with Zoom calls. Board games and arts and crafts have also been distributed to keep carers occupied.
Support worker Lisa McCulloch said: “The school closures have been an added stress and we’re aware that with the school holidays starting in two weeks referrals have increased. We really need to support young carers.”
“You need tobeina good mind yourself”