Young Carers in Scotland are currently facing a standard of living issue, which in many cases is forcing them to compromise on opportunities readily available to their peers. This will be the focus of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s National Campaign for 2014.
Today, the Scottish Youth Parliament launched their National Campaign, ‘Care.Fair.Share.’, to urge the Scottish Government to ease the financial strain facing young carers.
The Scottish Youth Parliament consulted widely about young carers in Scotland during the formation of its youth manifesto, “Change the Picture”, in 2010. The manifesto received nearly 43,000 responses from young people across Scotland, of which 88% indicated that the Government should develop a young carers strategy.
The campaign seeks to ensure that carers are treated fairly by society and government policies, and that their caring situations should not prevent them from further education and engaging in social activities. Several avenues will be pursued to alleviate the financial difficulties faced by many young carers, including:
- addressing anomalies in the administration of the Educational Maintenance Allowance that result in many young carers losing their EMA entitlement;
- additional funding and bursary opportunities for young carers struggling to afford further education due to their caring responsibilities; and,
- avenues to alleviate the cost of travel for young carers between school, work, and home to fulfil their caring and educational responsibilities.
As a young carer herself, Lauren King, MSYP for Motherwell and Wishaw, is very passionate about the campaign.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Lauren said:
“As a young person who has a significant caring role, I am very aware how challenging it can be to manage your day-to-day duties while fulfilling your role as a young carer and simultaneously striving to achieve your full potential. As such, I am delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament has chosen to campaign for young carers.
“I believe the most challenging aspect for many young carers is multi-tasking. It is a constant struggle to make ends meet. Alongside caring duties there is simply not enough time to financially make ends meet and also prioritise education and other opportunities.
Speaking about the campaign, Kyle Thornton SYP Chair said:
“MSYPs from all over Scotland are incredibly passionate about this campaign and want to make a difference for Scotland’s young carers. These young people provide an invaluable service to their families and society, and should not have to face this hardship.
“I would encourage everyone to help raise awareness and lend their support to this campaign.”
Speaking about the campaign, Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said:
“Young carers are a vital part of our society and I know the very real contribution they make to the lives of those they care for. I am pleased that the Scottish Youth Parliament is highlighting the issues young carers face through their national campaign. It is important that young carers have the same opportunities as other young people. We have now launched our carers’ consultation which we hope many young carers will feed into. This, along with our young carers strategy will improve support for young carers across Scotland.”
Speaking about the campaign, Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell said:
“The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill will further Scotland’s ambition to be the best place to grow up. The Bill includes key elements of GIRFEC (Getting It Right for Every Child) which puts the child and young person and their wellbeing at the centre of the design, planning and delivery of services. We welcome the Scottish Youth Parliament’s campaign to raise awareness of the important role young carers play in supporting and caring for family members.”