Agenda item

Young Carers Update


The Board received an update on the work and achievements of Halton Carers Centre, which was at the request of the Chair.


Members welcomed Carl Harris, CEO of Halton Carers Centre and his colleague Vikki Shepherd, Young Carers Support Worker.  They reported that the Carers Centre was the primary organisation working with young carers in Halton.  Their aim was to enhance wellbeing, build skills and increase knowledge for both young and adult carers in Halton. 


According to the 2021 census, 2.7% of children and young people in Halton were identified as having a caring role; this was the highest proportion of unpaid carers amongst younger age groups in the Country.  Currently there were 954 young carers aged between 5-17 registered with Halton Carers Centre. 


The guests outlined how the Halton Young Carers Team supported registered young carers; gave examples of the tasks they may have to do at home; and explained the effects that these responsibilities can have on a young person.  Appended to the report was the Halton Borough Council 2022/23 Carers Report – Quarter 4, which gave detailed information on Halton Carers Centre statistics for that period, which included activities and support information for the quarter and for the full year 2022/23.


Following the presentation Members raised questions and the following additional information was provided in response to these:


·         The Centre did have and maintained links with other organisations for purposes such as raising awareness and arranging respite activities and days out for young carers;

·         Concern for young carers was expressed;

·         It was very difficult to identify a child who was a carer, which could take up to 4 years;

·         With regards to increasing GP links, one member informed of the Patient Participation Group, which was a good way of being able to communicate with GP’s;

·         The Centre had a team of 3 support workers plus the CEO and would like additional funding to be able to recruit another support worker, to be able to increase outreach in schools for example;

·         Only 27 schools were being engaged with by the Carers Centre at the moment;

·         One Member, who was a SEND teacher, offered her services in the music and art area and invited the Centre to make contact if they wished to arrange an activity relating to the arts;

·         The educational attainment of young carers was discussed and noted that this would need to be tracked for a young carer as it was with any other pupil and vulnerable group;

·         Regarding absence and lateness from school, it was important that schools were aware of the reasons as to why a young carer may be late or absent from school and how they could try to mitigate this;

·         Home visits were made to ‘primary carers’ of which there were 52 in Halton;

·         Approximately 40% of young carers cared for parents with alcohol and drug misuse problems;

·         Concerns were raised regarding the fact that Halton was identified as having the highest proportion of unpaid carers amongst younger age groups in the Country;

·         School absence was a concern and schools needed help to be able to identify young carers, so they could seek support to enable them to support the young person; and

·         Officers would share the Carers Centre details with the relevant teams within the Council, so that connections could be made.


Funding was explained – 58% came from Halton Borough Council and the Integrated Care Board (ICB) and 42% came from outside funding.  The Centre aspired to increase respite activities and days out for young carers but funding was limited for this purpose.  Activities such as training, gardening, bee keeping, mental health awareness, first aid training, healthy eating and cooking had previously taken place for young carers and staff would like this to continue, as it reduced feelings of isolation many young carers experienced in their lives, as they are able to mix with people in the same situation. 


A copy of the most recent Newsletter was passed to Members for information, this included details of days out arranged for young carers, such as Gulliver’s World, Blue Planet, kayaking and therapy and podiatry treatments.


On behalf of the Board the Chair thanked Mr Harris and Ms Shepherd for attending the meeting today and sharing a valuable insight into the work of the Halton Carers Centre.


RESOLVED:  That the information and comments made be received.

Supporting documents: