YOUNG people who care for their parents have been given extra support.
Portsmouth City Council has given more than £10,000 to the Young Carers Project to help them provide much-needed breaks.
The project, based at the Carers Centre in Orchard Road, Southsea, provides young carers aged five to 18 with access to a break through weekly activity groups and a programme of activities which take place during the school holidays.
Individual carers groups have also been set up within many of Portsmouth’s schools to help provide further support.
Specialist assistance is offered where the carer is supporting someone with mental illness or substance misuse.
There are currently 650 young carers being supported by the Carers Centre.
Cllr Lynne Stagg handed over the money as the funds were raised during her time as Lord Mayor.
She said: ‘In my career as a secondary school teacher, I taught many youngsters who cared for one or both of their parents, or their grandparents or siblings.
‘I saw first-hand how they missed out on many of the normal activities their peers took for granted. I hope that this money helps the Young Carers Project to continue the great work they do in offering essential support and respite to young carers.’
Rebecca Hobbs, young carers development worker, said: ‘With so many adult responsibilities, young carers often miss out on opportunities that other children have to play and learn.
‘Many struggle educationally and can be bullied for being different.
‘This can lead to them becoming isolated, with no relief from the pressures at home, and no chance to enjoy childhood properly.
‘They are often afraid to ask for help as they fear letting the family down or being taken into care.
‘It is vital that young carers are identified and supported in order for them to have the best chance to reach their potential and have the same opportunities as other children.’
n To find out more about the Young Carers Project, or the support available call (023) 9285 1864.