“Great to hear what people are doing to help young adult carers like me”

26th January 2017

Emma, a young adult carer from York, attended a meeting of our National Policy Forum for Young Adult Carers on 11th January 2017. In this blog, she talks about her experience and what she gained from it.

On the 11 January I got invited down to London with Emily from the York Carers Centre to attend a meeting held by the Learning and Work Institute. The meeting discussed things to do with young adult carers. 

When we arrived to the location we introduced ourselves to the room, and got told what was on the agenda for the meeting. First we discussed the 21 hour rule which applies to young adult carers in sixth forms and colleges. This rule states that any young adult carer studying 21 hours or more are not entitled to claim Carer’s Allowance. Some carers don’t agree with this rule as they are left to make a decision: whether to take up further education and lose Carer’s Allowance, or put their education on hold to care for their loved ones. But it has been proven by some schools and colleges that a full-time course is actually less than 21 hours, including study time, so the Department of Work and Pensions said that they would look into this and see if they can make some changes. I feel like this would make a great impact on a young adult carer’s life as they will be able to get an education and still be able to look after the person they care for.

The next thing that we discussed was the transitioning process between a young carer’s service to a young adult service. Some of the services, like the York service which I am part of, are based in the same office which made things easier for me, as I knew everyone in the office and the young adult carers so it wasn’t that hard or scary. But in different parts of the UK there is a different service for the young carers and the young adult carers so transitioning is a lot more difficult as the carer has to get to know different people, which they might not be comfortable doing. We heard from the Leicester Young Adult Carer Network which brings together lots of different organisations to help make this transition easier for young adult carers.

The final topic we discussed was the new Carer’s Strategy. It was interesting to hear what changes will be made to help carers across the board. One of the main things was mental health and it was pointed out that most young carers and young adult carers will have dealt with or may deal with mental health problems at some point in their lives.

As a whole, the meeting that I attended with the Learning and Work Institute was very interesting and it was great to hear about what people are trying to change to help young adult carers like me. I learnt a lot about different things to do with the carers system that I actually did not know before.