Going off to college, university or starting an apprenticeship is an exciting time for most young adults, but for those looking after someone else, they often lack the support needed to pursue their goals. There are an estimated 2,700 unpaid young adult carers (YACs) across Wiltshire alone, and Carers Trust found that YACs are twice as likely not to be in education, employment or training.
Lacie, 19 from Trowbridge, is looking forward to starting her college course in Swansea this year. Studying a course in Level Three Health and Social Care, Lacie hopes to go on to university to study Special Needs Education and Psychology. She is looking forward to the idea of working in a SEN school or care home for her placement and all of the other amazing opportunities being at college can bring.
As Lacie cares for her Mum, she has lots of responsibilities from the physical side of caring, to sorting out the household finances and being there emotionally for her Mum, making it hard for her to have time for herself.
‘I’ve really missed being at school. I got ten GCSE’s and tried to go on to do A Levels but I just couldn’t manage caring full time with the amount of work it required,’ says Lacie.
Through 1-1 meetings with Carer Support Wiltshire Support Worker Andrea, Lacie had someone to turn to for information and advice, saying
‘Andrea has really helped me sort out the money aspect. I really wouldn’t have been able to do it without knowing about the bursaries and grants I can apply for.’
Not only is Lacie looking forward to the opportunities and experiences heading her away, she also hopes to reignite her love of Maths and tutor other students. She also has plans to write for YACbook when she has the time in her busy new schedule!
Like Lacie, Hannah, 19 from Chippenham, felt that university was just something she wouldn’t be able to do.
‘I just didn’t even know what I wanted to do, but then in sixth form, all of my friends were going off to university and it just hit me – I really wanted to go.’ Hannah says.
Hannah cares for her Mum and also cares for her Mum’s twin sister occasionally when the two are together. Her caring role varies from day to day, but takes up a lot of her time and would find it incredibly difficult to stay at home while studying.
Now having just completed a foundation degree in Art and Design, Hannah is going onto study Special Effects Makeup for Film and TV at Bolton University. But suddenly stopping your caring role and relying on others or paid carers to care for your loved one can be incredibly hard,
‘I felt really guilty, I felt like I was abandoning my Mum, but she’s always been really supportive and told me to just do what I need to do. It makes me feel so much better knowing I have her support.’ Hannah says.
Carer Support Wiltshire and Support Worker Andrea were key in helping Hannah understand the grants and bursaries available to her, and through 1-1 support, she gained confidence and had advice she needed in order to feel secure enough to move away to study.
And like many other YACs tell us, Hannah says the bond she has with her Mum is now even stronger than before, saying
‘When I come home it’s nice because we haven’t seen each other in a while, rather than constantly getting on top of each other like we were before.’
Hannah is the first in her family to be going to university, and she is incredibly hopeful and positive for the future. And if the play dough elephant she made at our second YAC Café is anything to go by – Hannah has a bright and creative future ahead of her!
If you are a young adult carer who is worried you might not be able to go to college or university, check out the help and resource centre on YACbook.co.uk. You can also call us for a chat on 0800 181 4118 to find out options and how we can support you in and outside of your caring role.