It doesn't have to be like this. Care doesn't have to mean compromise.
In January 2014, SYP launched a campaign to ensure that young carers are treated fairly by society and government policies, and that their caring situations do not prevent them from accessing further education and engaging in social activities.
Several avenues were identified to alleviate financial strain on young carers, including:
- addressing anomalies in the administration of the Educational Maintenance Allowance programme;
- petitioning for additional funding and bursary opportunities for young carers struggling to afford further education; and
- finding avenues to alleviate the cost of travel for young carers between school, work, and home to fulfil their caring and education duties.
The Care.Fair.Share. achieved two of its three campaign aims:
- It secured updates in the guidance for the Educational Maintenance Allowance programme to offer young carers flexibility in attendance if they were absent due to caring. This is helping more young carers keep their payments and stay in school;
- The campaign also altered the eligibility criteria for the Dependents’ Grant and the Lone Parents’ Grant from the Student Award Agency of Scotland (SAAS), to allow more young carers who provide care for adults and children to receive funding for college and university; but
- The campaign was unsuccessful in creating a concessionary travel scheme for young carers, although Carers Trust Scotland are now championing the issue.