The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Young carer’s chal­lenge

● Chantelle gives in­sight to new de­mands pre­sented by lock­down

- BY KAITLIN EAS­TON Society · Aberdeenshire · Scotland · Zoom Video Communications · Aberdeen City Council

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”

 ??  ?? DED­I­CA­TION: Chantelle was still a child when she first be­gain car­ing for her mum
DED­I­CA­TION: Chantelle was still a child when she first be­gain car­ing for her mum
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