£500k Lottery boost for Kingdom’s young carers

Nina Collins of Fife Young Carers gives a talk to school pupils.
Nina Collins of Fife Young Carers gives a talk to school pupils.

A charity which aims to help Fife’s “vital, yet invisible” army of young carers is set to expand with over £500k from the Big Lottery Fund.

Fife Young Carers, which already actively supports more than 200 young people throughout the region, predicts it will now be able to reach out to 1000 more in schools.

Roy MacGregor, manager of Fife Young Carers said: “This award will allow us to take a huge step forward in helping those young people struggling most with their caring responsibilities.

“Young carers in Fife provide vital but often unseen and unrecognised roles in supporting family members and, in some instances, these responsibilities take a heavy emotional toll.

“Despite a steady increase in young people receiving support Fife Young Carers and partner organisations are still only aware of a small percentage of those young carers and young adult carers who need help.”

The award of £531,721 from the Big Lottery’s Investing in Communities scheme will fund salaries for two support workers over five years.

It is estimated that one in every 10 children fulfill a caring role at home - which would suggest there are 5,000 young carers in Fife alone.

Staff will work in primary and secondary schools throughout the region offering a range of advice in lunchtime and drop-in sessions and after school one on one meetings and group work.

The aim is to give young carers skills and confidence to better manage their schoolwork with their caring role and help teenagers to make the transition from school to further education, training or employment.

Applications for the posts open next week and it is anticipated the jobs will start in April.

“This exciting new funding opportunity will be used to identify even more of these young people and to help them visualise and achieve a better future,” explained Roy, who is based at the Roundhouse in Kirkcaldy.

“By providing increased specialist support in schools and new resources for those young carers in transition to adulthood, we aim to raise awareness of their issues and to develop skills and opportunities to improve the life chances of those most in need.”

Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland chairman said: “This award recognises the challenges young people face in juggling the demands of their school work and caring role.

“I’m delighted that many more young people in Fife will have greater support around them when it is most needed.”

For more information about Fife Young Carers, visit: fifeyoungcarers.co.uk