The vital role played by East Lothian’s young carers and the supports available to them are being highlighted to mark Young Carers Action Day today (16 March 2022).

Estimates suggest that as many as 1 in 5 children and young people in the county could be providing care for a family member This includes for parents, siblings or other family members. Young carers may struggle to balance their care commitments alongside school, social activities and friendships and their role may not be recognised by those around them. 

In the lead up to the Action Day, assemblies and workshops have been delivered in schools across the area to raise awareness of Young Carers. The majority of pupils taking part admitted that they knew very little about young carers, commenting later ‘They deserve your respect’, ‘They are practically heroes’, ‘They should be noticed more’, ‘What they do is amazing’.        

East Lothian Council has been working closely with Bridges Project to identify and support Young Carers and helping them to complete a Young Carers Statement. The statement focuses on the Young Carers’ goals and what supports they need to achieve them. This could include support at school or with friendship groups, time away, or support with health and wellbeing. 

Young Carers will also receive free access to Active Schools Activities in 2022/23 adding to the free places already offered to children and young people with care experience and those who are eligible for free school meals. A £20 East Lothian Gift Card is being issued to almost 100 young carers who identified themselves to the council before Action Day to help them do something for themselves.

To mark Young Carers Action Day, a group of young carers from the county’s six secondary schools gathered together at The Volunteer Centre, Tranent to chat about the theme for 2022, Young Carer Isolation, over a cup of tea and some cake. 

East Lothian Council’s Young Carers Co-ordinator Marie Prior said: “Young Carers make a huge contribution not only to their families but to our whole community. We want them to know how much we appreciate them and assure them that we will be working tirelessly to make sure they get the recognition and support they deserve. The Bridges Project have already made great progress in raising awareness within our secondary school and we hope to have a further two workers available to support primary schools from May 2022. The theme of Young Carers Action Day 2022 is Young Carer Isolation. If we are truly going to tackle this then we need to ensure that every day is action day.”

Emma Scarcliffe, CEO of Bridges Project, added: "Bridges Project is delighted to be working in partnership with East Lothian Council to deliver the Young Carer service across the local authority. To date, the team of staff have made significant progress in identifying and supporting young people with caring responsibilities to complete Young Carer Statements and raise awareness across high schools within East Lothian.

"Young Carers are utterly admirable. It’s vitally important that we recognise the incredible role Young Carers play within their families and provide the right person centred support in areas such as education, wellbeing and employability to enable Young Carers to lead happy and fulfilling lives."
If you are a Young Carer or know one please encourage them to get in touch with us using the details on materials found in all schools/council buildings, speaking to a member of staff at school or by emailing the team

More information is available online

To mark Young Carers Day, Young Carers across the Lothians shared what helps them to feel supported and less isolated:


Published: Wednesday, 16th March 2022