ePetition details

Save Young Carers Services

We the undersigned petition the council to allocate enough money to continue the current young Carers service in Herefordshire which is currently provided by Herefordshire Carers support. We want the council to enable us to keep our young Carers clubs, 1–2-1 support and trips. We provide a free service saving the council lots of money so deserve a free service to support us in our caring roles.

The Carers Strategy (Page 10) says that WISH could help build 'pastoral support' however not all Young Carers have access to the internet.

"I only have the internet at my Mum's and school but not at my Nan and Grandad's where I am living at the moment. Lots of websites and information are blocked on school computers and if I search 3 blocked websites in school I will get an internet ban for the rest of term."

'Young Carers have a particular right to expect that they will be recognised and supported by public services' (Page 10, Carers Strategy) - "This is technically a lie. The Council, a public service are not providing any services for Young Carers other than a Young Carers Assessment. An assessment is no good to me if there are no services to support me".

'Young Carers may need to be convinced of the benefits of identification and registration' - "What are these benefits if the only service and support we have in Herefordshire will end in September 2018."

"Herefordshire's Young Carer Forum is the only place where professionals could come and meet with Young Carers to listen to us. They never do what they say they will or come back to tell us what they've done". "We can't participate in reviewing services if we aren't approached, respected and listened to!"

"Young Carers have a particular right to expect that they will be recognised and supported by public services" Page 10, A Joint Carers Strategy for Herefordshire 2017 - 2021'.

One of the 'Shared Visions' is 'Networking and mutual support' - "Young Carers Club is the only place where I feel like I am understood. I'm not different, we all know what it's like being Young Carers."

"I never get bullied at Young Carers, there is no uniform to wear or buy, clubs are free and I get to have a break"

"I don't want to go to universal groups such as 'Brownies' because I feel like I will be different to everyone else and I won't fit in. They do more activities so you don't get the chance to have support and talk. I tired Brownies for 2 weeks and quit because I didn't like it".

"I've been going to Young Carers for 6 years and have only missed 4 clubs, 1 because of 'Options Evening'. 1 because of a school trip meeting and the other 2 I was in A&E".

This ePetition ran from 29/05/2018 to 07/08/2018 and has now finished.

132 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

Your petition requesting that Herefordshire Council allocate money to support the young carers service currently provided by Herefordshire Carers Support (HCS) has now closed. Thank you for raising this matter, it has contributed to the ongoing conversations the council have with HCS.
As you may be aware, young carers clubs provided by HCS have not been funded by the council. HCS have successfully developed this service by seeking and securing funding from other sources. We understand you and other young carers value the clubs and trips and want to keep them going. Council staff are working with HCS, and other voluntary organisations, to support them in identifying and bidding for funding to enable this to continue.
The response below seeks to address the other points raised in your petition. If you would like to meet with council officers we can arrange a convenient time and place to discuss this further with you, please contact Richard Watson at childrenscommissioning@herefordshire.gov.uk or call 01432 260123.
As you mention, the Joint Carers Strategy for Herefordshire 2017 – 2021 recognises unpaid carers as one of Herefordshire’s most valuable assets. Many people helped create the strategy including carers, volunteers and voluntary sector organisations, council and health services. You may have met some of the officers when they visited young carers clubs. The government’s Carers Action Plan 2018 to 2020 strengthens the approach in the Joint Carers Strategy, which is now being implemented to improve the wellbeing of carers in Herefordshire.
The council has been developing the services it offers young carers and recently started a new Young Carers Support Service provided by the family support team. It is important that young carers are identified and that their needs assessed so they are able to continue in their caring role while keeping well and achieving their own goals and ambitions. The assessment offered by the young carers support service considers all aspects of the young person’s life beyond their caring role, and the needs of their family, leading to support where needed including one to one and whole family support. The support offered is across a wide-range of networks, connecting and working with other services.
In the petition you mention young carers should be recognised and supported by public services and described how you have not felt able to access universal services and experienced bullying when you tried to do so in the past. Another aspect of the council’s Young Carers Support Service is to help improve how people and services think about the needs of young carers. This includes working with public services such as schools and GPs as well as community groups, to improve their understanding young carers needs. The intention is that in the future young carers will have a positive experience in accessing wider services and developing their interests.
We note your circumstances with access to the internet and to information and advice websites such as WISH. WISH can be used by schools to boost the pastoral support they provide by giving them a better understanding of the pressure that young carers experience and as a source of information to pass on to young people. The Young Carers Support Service could help you to access information or support you with problems at school. You can contact the service, called the Early Help Team, on 01432 260261.
We hope that this addresses the points you have raised and you are reassured that the council is working in line with the government guidance to improve the experience of carers of all ages in Herefordshire. While there is currently no specific council funding available to replace the HCS’s charitable funding, council staff will look at the potential for a future funding scheme to support young carers or other groups of young people, as well as continuing to support HCS to identify and apply for other funding as opportunities arise.