Every fortnight we highlight the work of one of our member organisations and outline how other individuals and NGOs can support them. Ahead of Young Carers Action Day (YCAD) on March 16 we shine the Spotlight on Carers Trust Scotland – read on to find out more!
Tell us about the work of Carers Trust Scotland?
Carers Trust Scotland is part of Carers Trust, a major UK charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring (unpaid) for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. Our vision is that unpaid carers count and can access the help they need to live their lives.
We do this with a network of quality assured independent partners and through the provision of grants to help carers get the extra help they need to live their own lives. Working with locally based carer services we are able to support carers in their homes through the provision of replacement care, and in the community with information, advice, emotional support, hands on practical help and access to much needed breaks. We offer specialist services for carers of people of all ages and conditions and a range of individual tailored support and group activities.
We have an enthusiastic and talented cross-disciplinary team in Scotland leading our work to help achieve this vision. Their work ranges from securing essential funds for our work and grants for carer services and unpaid carers, to policy and research to organising our Scottish Young Carers Festival!
What projects are you currently working on?
We are currently involved in a number of exciting pieces of work, but want to highlight our upcoming Young Carers Action Day here! Young Carer Action Day (YCAD) is an annual campaign day organised by Carers Trust. It has taken place over the last six years to raise awareness of young carers and young adult carers and the immense contribution they make to their families and local communities. We have formed a Steering Group of both young carers and young adult carers to help guide the direction and co-create resources to engage young carers and their supporters for YCAD to ensure that young carers have been at the heart of planning.
Young carers and young adult carers were very clear that the theme of YCAD 2021 should be Protect Young Carers’ Futures – highlighting the incredible skills they have developed through being an unpaid carer such as resilience, time-management and empathy. Young carers have told us they want lasting and meaningful change to take place to ensure young carers now, and in the future, remain at the forefront of policy development and have access to the support they may need. Carers Trust Scotland is therefore calling on Scottish Government to commit to developing a new cross-cutting National Action Plan to protect the futures of children and young people with caring responsibilities.
These plans are urgently needed to address a sharp downward spiral in the mental health of young carers across Scotland, and the adverse impact this is having on their hopes for the future. A National Action Plan should include clear actions that can be delivered at pace and must address education, employability and health and wellbeing prospects among young people with caring responsibilities. Carers Trust is also urging employers to protect young carers’ futures by acknowledging the unique skills and attributes that young carers develop from an early age, such as time-management skills, resilience, empathy and a sense of responsibility for others. We are already working with our corporate supporters to develop resources and provide experience to facilitate young carers’ pathways into employment.
How can children and young people make their views heard to influence your work?
Carers Trust Scotland supports two Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament who represent young carers and young adult carers, aged 12 – 25, across Scotland. We also host a national Advisory Group of young carers, which comes together to develop national engagement events and campaigns to ensure the views of young carers and young adult carers are heard. Our Scottish Young Carers Festival is a great opportunity for us to consult with young carers in an engaging way and hear more about the issues that matter to them. From this and our wider consultation activities, we are able to focus our efforts to improve the support available for young carers and young adult carers.
Does Carers Trust Scotland influence policy development on issues affecting children and young people?
Carers Trust Scotland is the leading National Carer Organisation focussing on policy development on issues affecting young carers and young adult carers. We have been central in influencing key policy developments, including the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 which gives all young carers in Scotland the right to a Young Carer Statement – a personalised support plan to identify and highlight their personal goals and any support that they may require as young carer, as well as a record of who is responsible for providing that support. Since devolution of carer benefits to Scottish Government, we have also been a key stakeholder in the development of Young Carer Grant, which is a payment of £305 a year for eligible young carers to spend as they choose.
What do you enjoy most about being a member of Together?
Carers Trust Scotland has been a member of Together for over the last five years and we have very much enjoyed having the opportunity to work collaboratively, such as in webinars and through wider policy work. We have found being a member of Together has helped us to ensure that young carers and the additional barriers they may experience remain on the wider children and young people policy agenda.
How can other organisations or individuals get involved or support your work?
You can find out more about Young Carers Action Day 2021 via the Carers Trust website. This includes a range of downloadable resources – that will help you engage and get the most out of this year’s Young Carers Action Day.
We also have a content page on our website hosting a wide range of engaging content about young carers – media articles, videos made by our steering groups and blogs. You can also follow and support our work on social media:
- Twitter: @CarersTrustScot
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/carers
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ycscotland/
We would be delighted if Together members could help us get our hashtag #YoungCarersActionDay trending on social media on 16 March 2021. Here is a suggested social media post, which would be great if you could share on the day:
Today is #YoungCarersActionDay 2021 we want to Protect Young Carers Futures. Learn more about the incredible skills #youngcarers develop through their caring role – like resilience, time management and empathy.
Find out more 👉 bit.ly/2P137el @CarersTrustScot
If you want to find out more about how to get involved with our work, please e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org
And something a bit silly to end – if Carers Trust Scotland was an animal what would it be and why?
I think that Carers Trust Scotland could be regarded as an an elephant. We are a strategic and confident organisation. We work in a calm and collected way but can make a stand when we need to. Just like elephants, we are loyal and caring and ultimately want to do our best to support the herd. And we never forget who we are here for!