The Princess Royal Trust for Carers today called on the government to create more joined-up services for young and adult carers to cater for 16- to 24-year-olds who take care of a loved-one.
The charity also called for specialist projects to be set up for the group, as it published unprecedented research into the needs and experiences of young adult carers, as opposed to older adults or those under 18.
Professor Saul Becker, director of Young Carers International Research and Evaluation (YCI) at Nottingham University, which carried out the research, said it had found 16- to 24-year-olds were often “invisible to service providers”.
Little if any choice
He added: “Many have little, if any, choice about caring and experience difficult transitions to adulthood, work and in their own personal lives.”
There are an estimated 290,000 young adult carers in the UK, and the research found they faced a lack of information on a range of subjects including adult carers’ services, career opportunities and further education.
Researchers also found that carers who went off to university experienced guilt and constantly worried about the people they cared for, while others gave up the possibility of going into higher education in order to continue their caring role.
Alex Fox, director of policy and communications at the Princess Royal Trust, said the charity was already looking at how its services could ensure a “seamless” transition for young adult carers.
But he added: “We also need to look further at why families find themselves relying on a young person for care at such a crucial time in their lives and ask ourselves as a society if we are comfortable with the sacrifies some of these young people have had to make.”
National Young Carers Coalition launched to campaign for the group