Our young carers (up to the age of 18 years) and our young adult carers (up to 25 years) contribute a huge amount to our local communities. There are estimated to be over 6000 young carers in Fife as highlighted during a recent education pupilwise survey (2017/18). Some of our most hidden young carers are providing high levels of care as well as trying to study for school and/or work.

To raise awareness of young carers and adult young carers across services, Fife Young Carer’s has launched ‘join our chain’.  This information video focuses on keeping young carers connected, which is one of the main drivers of Getting it right for Young Carers in Fife Strategy (2018 – 2021).  Please visit www.fifeyoungcarers.co.uk for more information or follow Fife Young Carers on social media.

Getting it right for young carers in Fife Strategy was launched in October 2018. During carers week we will link in with young carers across Fife to gain their views about support available and if the strategy is having an impact. It is also an opportunity to remind young carers about new service developments available to them. Hospital discharge service for carers, joint advocacy service and befriending service to support young carers to get a break from their caring role. This will be done via online survey in schools and via Fife Young Carers.  If you are a young carer school young carer champion in school for more information.

Authorisation cards are available to all young carers in Fife. This is an identity card that helps them to access information and support. The card has two uses, one to help young people get support in school and the other to show that the person they care for has given consent to share medical information with the young person. This allows social workers, nurses, doctors and other health staff to have discussions with young carers about the person they look after and helps teachers understand their situation. Please visit wwwfifedirect.org.uk/young carers for more information.

The time for me! Fund is another great source of support to young carers. Fife Council has developed this fund to improve the range of opportunities for young carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities.  The fund can be used to help children and young people access activities that are important to them.  While we should not automatically assume that caring for others is a negative experience we must recognise that it can restrict young peoples’ lives, and limit their experiences and opportunities as they grow up. Please visit wwwfifedirect.org.uk/young carers for more information

When speaking to young carers about their own needs, over half of the consultation group discussed their emotional wellbeing and this was highlighted as being most important. A new befriending service has been developed to support young carers with their mental health. Part of this service is to provide support to young carers, specifically during the summer break when they feel most isolated. It also helps young carers balance more time for themselves by helping them to access activities that are important to them. Please visit www.fifeyoungcarers.co.uk for details of this new service. For general advice on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing please visit www.handsonscotland.co.uk