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Young carers in Cardiff set to receive ID cards

(Adobe Stock image)

A new scheme to enable young carers in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan to get the support and recognition they need has been launched this week (Thursday, June 10), during Carers Week.

The Young Carers ID card is a national initiative to support young people who care for a family member or friend to receive more understanding about the role they play, especially from the professionals they come into contact with most often. The scheme will identify the young person carrying the card as a young carer, and help people like doctors, teachers and pharmacists to recognise them and support them appropriately.

A young carer is someone aged 18 or under who cares for someone who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.

There are more than 350 young carers being supported by services in Cardiff and the Vale and these individuals do so much to help and support family members and friends, often unseen, providing, practical and emotional help and support – from washing, lifting and cooking to organising the family finances. The estimated total number of young carers across the regions is more likely to be nearer to one in five school-aged children and young people.

Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Councils are working with the YMCA to deliver the card scheme across the region.  The YMCA already supports young carers in the area through various initiatives including the Cardiff Young Carers Project and young carers already working with the charity will be the first to receive their new ID cards.

The card will contain a photo of the young carer, their date of birth, and an expiration date, as well as contact information for Carers Trust Wales and young carers services. All cards will display the Young Carers ID card logo, which was designed by two young carers.

Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Cllr Graham Hinchey, said: “We are really pleased to launch the young carers ID card in the region with the Vale of Glamorgan Council and YMCA. The card will be a quick and simple way for young carers to let teachers, pharmacists and GPs know that this young person looks after someone else. The scheme will help boost young carers’ confidence as they carry out their role and help overcome some of the challenges they may have faced previously, such as problems collecting medicines for the person they care for.”

Cllr Ben Gray, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health said: “Whomever a young carer looks after, there is an impact on that young person’s life, whether that be on their emotional or physical wellbeing, educational achievement or life chances. However, with the right support, young people can balance their caring with doing the things that matter to them, and be empowered to fulfil their potential and achieve their ambitions.

“This new ID card scheme will raise awareness of young carers’ responsibilities and help them to get the assistance they need.”

Caroline Ryan Head of Youth and Community at YMCA Cardiff added: “Many children and young people in Cardiff and the Vale today may not even realise that they are a young carer, We hope that the launch of the new ID card will raise awareness of the vital role young carers play not only among professionals and the wider community, but with children and young people themselves. By law, they have the right to a carer’s needs assessment and to access information, advice and support for their caring role.”

Kate Cubbage, Head of External Affairs for Carers Trust Wales said: “Young carers have long called for an ID card to support them in their caring role and to help them have the confidence to ask for help when they need it.

“Carers Trust is delighted to have received Welsh Government funding to lead the development of a suite of resources to support the rollout of the national Young Carers ID card model which will encourage young carers to have the confidence to speak openly about their caring role with health, social care and education professionals. The resources, available to download on Carers.org/YCID, will also give professionals the tools they need to recognise young carers and to give them appropriate support.

“In response to challenges that have been amplified by the pandemic many local authorities have brought forward the launch of their ID card, with all local authorities due to make an ID card available to young carers by March 2022.

“This Carers Week we are pleased to celebrate the launch of the ID card in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan which will help ensure that young carers across the region get the recognition, respect and support they deserve.

“We have welcomed the opportunity to work together with Welsh Government, local authorities and professional bodies across Wales to make such positive progress for young carers.”

Schools and education professionals can refer a young carer to the ID card scheme on the YMCA website here https://www.ymcacardiff.wales/ycid/ Young carers can also self refer, but anyone under 14 must obtain parental consent to obtain a card.

Carers Trust Wales has been instrumental in supporting the national ID card scheme and its roll out across Wales.