New figures have shown almost 90 per cent of Scots young carers feel that their schools and GPs do nothing to support them – and that’s despite the fact that Scotland’s carers and young carers save the public purse more than £7.6* billion a year.
So as a big thank you, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers is organising a free festival on 21 and 22 August at the Broomlee Outdoor Centre, West Linton, to give them a chance to let their hair down and talk to decision makers about the new national young carers’ strategy.
Organised by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and funded by the Scottish Government, the third annual Scottish Young Carers Festival will bring together more than 450 young carers from all over Scotland.
Research commissioned by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers has shown that every £1 spent on services for young carers saves the public purse £6.72** – yet services are under threat because of local authority budget cuts to organisations that run young carers’ groups.
As well as giving young carers a break from caring, the Festival offers them the chance to have fun and meet others in a similar position. The two-day Festival at Broomlee will include fun activities such as drama, comedy and animation workshops run by BBC Scotland, Bollywood dancing classes, a talent show and a silent disco.
The Scottish Government published its national young carers’ strategy, Getting it Right for Young Carers, on 26 July. Feedback from the Festivals in 2008 and 2009 influenced the development of this strategy. At this year’s Festival and future Festivals, young carers can talk to policy and decision-makers and convince them of the importance of implementing that strategy.
At last year’s Festival, 86% of young carers told us that their school did “nothing” to support young carers, while 89% felt their GPs/health workers also did “nothing”.*** The majority of services for young carers are provided by the voluntary sector through organisations such as The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.
The Minister for Public Health, Shona Robison, and the Minister for Children and Early Years Adam Ingram, are to attend this year’s Festival on the Sunday. Young carers will have the opportunity to talk about their lives to the ministers. Also attending are MSPs from all over Scotland, and representatives from three health boards and 13 councils.
Vicki is 16 and still at school. She cares for her grandmother, who has rheumatoid arthritis, and her grandfather, who has cancer. [VICKI IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS].
She says: “I’m really looking forward to the Festival for many reasons. I think it’ll be a really good laugh and I’m looking forward to talking to the ministers and MSPs to tell them what it’s like being me. The main thing will be meeting new people and feeling relaxed as the aim of the Festival is to allow us young carers to have our say and get a break from home.”
Louise Morgan, Young Carers Services Development Manager, adds: “We’re grateful to the Scottish Government for funding the Festival for this year and next year. Young carers underpin Scotland’s social care so it’s very important that the services that support young carers continue and expand.
“Funding for young carers’ services makes obvious sense in light of the long-term savings to the public purse. It is vitally important that local authorities, NHS boards and other partners continue to invest in such services and that they follow the recommendations of Getting it Right for Young Carers in the years to come.”
For more information, interviews with spokespersons or case studies, please contact Emma Baird, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers Press and PR Manager, on 0141 285 7938/07791 230261 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Scottish Young Carers Festival opens at 11.30am on 21 August at the Broomlee Outdoor Centre, West Linton.
Invited guests, including the Minister for Public Health, the Minister for Children and Early Years and MSPs, will be coming along to the Festival on the Sunday at 11am to talk to the young carers. John Loughton, ex celebrity Big Brother hi-jack winner, will help to close the festival at 1.30pm.
If you would like to attend, please contact Emma Baird as per the details given above.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The annual Scottish Young Carers Festival is funded by the Scottish Government and is organised by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, with the support of the Young Carers Service Alliance, Action for Children, Barnardos, Shared Care Scotland and Carers Scotland.
There are an estimated 100,000 young carers in Scotland, caring for a family member or friend who is sick, disabled, has a mental health problem or an addiction. All are different and yet all have one thing in common – they are unpaid and often face a life of isolation, ill-health and poverty.
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers was established in 1991 on the initiative of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, at a time when people caring for others were scarcely recognised as a group requiring support.
We are the largest provider of support services, reaching more than 400,000 carers, including approximately 25,000 young carers, around the clock, through a unique network of 144 independently-managed Carers' Centres and interactive websites www.carers.org and www.youngcarers.net For more information on the work of The Trust, please phone 0141 221 5066.
University of Leeds and Carers UK
** At What Cost to Young Carers? (2008) http://static.carers.org/files/finalfinal3-4040.pdf
*** The Scottish Young Carers’ Festival report 2009
- 100% of young carers wanted to re-attend the festival
- When asked, “What does your school do to support young carers?” 86% of those who responded said that their school did “nothing”
- When asked, “What does your GP/health worker do to support you and your family?” 89% of those who responded said “nothing”