14 January 2021

Support for young carers across Aberdeenshire

In collaboration with young carers and partners in social work, education, health and the third sector, Aberdeenshire Council has published the Aberdeenshire Young Carer Strategy 2021 to 2023. View the document online: Aberdeenshire Young Carer Strategy. 2021 to 2023
The strategy builds on the first Aberdeenshire Young Carer Strategy 2018 to 2020 and benefits from the input of young people in setting out how young carers will be supported over the next two years.
A young carer is anyone under the age of 18, or 18 if still at school, who cares for a family member or friend due to illness, disability, mental health or addiction. Caring can be physical, emotional or practical support. There are many young carers across Aberdeenshire and a caring role if unsupported can have a huge impact on a carer’s health and wellbeing. Young carers may find themselves excluded from personal and social opportunities including time in education. This may inhibit their development, ambitions, involvement in hobbies and potential to achieve.
The Aberdeenshire Young Carer Strategy is underpinned by the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 which states that young carers should have the same rights and access to opportunities as all children and young people. The aim in Aberdeenshire is that all young carers receive the right support at the right time to allow them to be children first and not held back due to their caring role. 
The Aberdeenshire Young Carer Strategy includes continuing the Carer Support Service delivered by Quarriers, a Young Carer Toolkit for schools, continued development of the Aberdeenshire Young Carers App and ensuring the voices of young carers are heard. It brings together priorities including health and wellbeing, education, young carer involvement and support for young carers.
Cllr Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee commented: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring young carers have the support they need to enable them to realise their potential, have the same access to hobbies and most importantly have fun. Delivering equity is about giving all those who need it that extra boost to enable them to enjoy a level playing field with their peers. I am so grateful to all those colleagues and young people who have been involved in delivering our new Young Carer Strategy for 2021 to 2023.”
Due to the impact of COVID-19, many young carers have experienced an increase in their caring role due to schools being closed and regular support services for their cared-for friend or relative being reduced or closed. Quarriers continue to provide support to all unpaid carers in Aberdeenshire via telephone and video calls to ensure they are not feeling isolated. More information about Quarriers is available on their website: https://quarriers.org.uk/services/young-carers-support-service-aberdeenshire/
Vice Chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “The ongoing global pandemic has posed each and every one of us with new challenges, not least all of those young carers out there who may be struggling with competing demands. Please, no matter your situation, if you are a young person caring for someone, know that help is available. Many young carers may still not recognise themselves as such so it’s important to underline that a caring role may be due to illness, disability, mental health or addiction, and caring can be physical, emotional or practical. It all counts and it is all very much valued by ourselves and colleagues as well as the person or people you are supporting.”
The updated Aberdeenshire Young Carer Strategy follows the launch of new young carer promotional materials at the end of 2020. Brightly coloured posters and leaflets were co-produced with young carers to raise awareness of Aberdeenshire young carers and the support available to them. The new materials were sent to all schools in Aberdeenshire, GP practices as well as to council services such as children and families social work. If you would like to request copies of these leaflets, or have any other carer support queries, please email carersupport@aberdeenshire.gov.uk