Young Carer Stories and Videos
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Steffany, age 9, is a Young Carer who lives in Derbyshire with her mum, Sarah. Sarah suffers from a brain tumour which means she has fits and severe migraines.
Sarah has good and bad days, often her condition is worse in the morning which means Steffany has to help her mum as well as getting herself up and ready for the day.
Because of her illness, Sarah struggles to get out of the house to take Steffany to school in the morning. When Sarah has a bad day Steffany doesn’t go and stays at home and look after her mum instead. When she does make it to class, Steffany worries about whether her mum is okay at home without her there to help.
Steffany helps Sarah by cooking tea and making breakfast. She also does cleaning, shopping and washing. She also helps by sitting in the bathroom with her mum while she washes, as she’s worried she may have a fit when she’s in the bath.
Steffany has seen her mum have many fits. When they happen she has to fetch her mum’s medication and sit with her until the fit passes. When it’s been a really bad one she’s had to call for an ambulance.
Sarah describes Steffany as a ‘mini adult’ who takes on the role of a Young Carer most days. There’s just the two of them who live at their home, so most of the time Steffany is the only person around to help. Understandably, she worries about her mum’s condition and Sarah admits she would really struggle without the support Steffany gives her.
Steffany doesn’t find it easy to talk about her feelings but she is being supported by the Derbyshire Young Carers service. The service offers her the chance to meet other Young Carers and take part in activities. She can also talk to her Young Carers project worker if she needs to.
Charlie's story was filmed for Comic Relief
Lottie shared her story with the Carers Trust. If you prefer you can read her story on the Carers Trust website.
When did you start caring?
Jamie: ''I am a triplet with my sister Phoebe and Amelia. I was about four when I started caring for them."
Josie: ''I was nearly two when my brother and sisters were born. But I started caring at the age of four."
What sorts of things do you do to help?
Josie: ''I give my sisters water through the gastrostomies. I operate the minibus lift and clamp the wheelchairs in. When Mum and Dad are changing my sisters’ nappies we hold their hands. When we get them dressed to go out we put their jackets on back to front and blankets on their laps."
Jamie: ''We put fluffy socks on their feet to keep them warm. We have to programme a special pump which feeds them through their tubes. I entertain my sisters with toys if Mum and Dad are busy."
Is there anything you find hard about being a young carer?
Josie: ''It is very tiring and little sleep makes the next day very hard. When we go out we have to search for disabled toilets. It can be really boring having to find a place to change my sisters’ nappies and because there are two of them it takes ages. I don't honestly like helping change my sisters’ nappies because it stinks to high heaven! I do like playing with them but sometimes they hit me, scratch or pull my hair but they don't mean to."
Jamie: ''School is hard after no sleep but we still have to go. I don't always feel like helping. I would rather play. I can't get annoyed but I don't have much choice. Mum and Dad need our help. They can't do it all as they get stressed."
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Jamie: ''I want to be a chef – I like cooking for people and trying new recipes."
Josie: ''I want to be an animator and write stories as I like being creative and sharing ideas."
What help do you get from your local Young Carers service?
Jamie: ''We get a break and I like the food and new things we do. We went on a trip to feed the llamas and we got to go in their swimming pool. It was really fun."
Josie: ''I like going to young carers so we get a break, make new friends, try new things and have fun and act our age. I love the trips. Most of them are really exciting. The leaders at young carers are all fantastic."
Taken from the Carers Trust
Samuel and Sandra featured in this video for Children in Need
This video features Young Carers of different ages talking about their daily lives. The video was made for Comic Relief
Experienced Young Carers give you their 10 top tips
You may have noticed that many of the Young Carers featured in these videos are getting support from their local carer support service. There are support services here in Derbyshire too, including the Derbyshire Young Carers Support Service. Find them here.