Oxfordshire hosts successful Young Carers Conference

Public service representatives from the county and surrounding areas took part in workshops and presentations to share knowledge on issues affecting children who have to care for a family member at home.

More than 100 professionals from health services, schools, police and social care gathered at Oxford’s King’s Centre for yesterday’s event. A group of children and young people from the Oxfordshire Young Carers Forum also addressed the conference.


Deborah Parkhouse of the council’s Young Carer Service said: “This was a really good opportunity for people working in different services to think about how we can all help to support young carers when we come into contact with children and families.

"Hopefully we’ve all come away with greater knowledge and some good ideas about how to help improve the lives of young people.”

Young carers service

The county council’s Young Carers Service is delivered in a partnership with Spurgeons which has been recognised nationally as among the best for developing practice.

It works with schools and other agencies to support young carers and their families across the county. In the last five years the council has been in contact with more than 2,000 young carers, and national estimates suggest there are as many as two young carers in every school school class.

The day-to-day commitments of being a young carer can make it hard for children and young people to lead normal lives, and puts pressure on schoolwork or finding time for friends and activities. It’s important that staff in schools and other services are aware of issues affecting young carers so they can provide the right support.

‘Think: Young Carer’

Young Carer representative Shannon Manning, 13, said: “A lot of people don’t really understand how young carers feel, so I think it is good for people working in these services to think ‘young carer’.”

Katie Cutler, 15, added: “It’s really important because everyone needs to know how young carers feel and act, and how they want to be treated.”