Croydon Council has just renewed adult social care funding for a project called Off The Record that supports young carers aged 18-25 who often report feeling isolated, deal with complex issues and cannot follow their own ambitions.
Adult carers’ services provide information, advice and specialist support focusing on parents caring for children with special needs, those looking after elderly relatives, or those supporting someone with a mental illness. In Croydon the council identified that there was a need for more specific support for young adult carers, whose needs are very different from the average carer aged between 45 and 65.
Croydon Council’s pilot project therefore aimed to improve the young carers’ independence, their finances and family relationships, while also decreasing their chances of developing mental health issues and social isolation.
The project has 60 young adult carers who actively engage with the project, and council staff have organised free meals out, day trips and activities like indoor climbing to give these young people time to enjoy themselves and make friends who understand each other’s situation. The council has referred them for counselling, supported them with claiming benefits they are entitled to, and helped several in their goal of finding more suitable employment or training. For those at college or university, the council has also helped with bursary applications. Continuing the project for an additional year will therefore enable Croydon Council to continue supporting young adult carers in this way while reaching more young adult carers in the borough.
Councillor Louisa Woodley, Croydon cabinet member for families, health and social care, said:
“Many of the young carers have told us they value this scheme because it values them. It gives advice and help at a key point in their young adult lives, balancing their ongoing carer responsibilities with their own needs.”