Blog 14 March 2024 By Sharandeep

Sharandeep hopes to promote equality this Young Carers Action Day

This year’s Young Carers Action Day is about recognising Fair Futures for Young Carers. We spoke to young carer, Sharandeep, who also works with Carers Trust about what Young Carer’s Action Day means to her and highlights the importance of recognising and celebrating our young carers. 

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the work you do for Carers Trust?

A: I work with the Carers Trust by volunteering, spreading awareness about young carers and fundraising for their cause. I dressed up as a minion to help fundraise for Carers Trust – Heart of England. I would volunteer and help run sessions for young carers on Mondays and Thursday including revision sessions, craft sessions, first aid sessions, social, educational and occupational sessions. I am also a member of the Youth Advisory Panel who are a group of young carers who participate in research projects to expand young carer support educationally and politically as well as we advise Carers Trust as a national organisation to cater their services more appropriately to the current needs of young carers.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of helping others as a Young Carer?

A: The most rewarding part of helping others as a Young Carers is seeing the joy on their face. In my family, as I care for my blind grandmother who has developed dementia and is currently on end of life care as well as my epileptic grandfather, previously my neurologically disabled aunt before she passed in 2019, my grandparents are grateful for my support and I enjoy spending time with them including my caring role. It’s incredible to indulge in my culture and talk in Punjabi as well as continue my education in Punjabi including completing a GCSE and A-Level in Punjabi. My grandparents were very proud of this achievement as I had learnt more about my culture and expanded my ability to communicate with them.

Q: You talked about isolation being a big challenge for young carers, do you have any advice for other young carers facing similar challenges?

A: For young carers suffering from isolation, please create a support system. It is so important that you reach out and talk to people about your situation. Carers Trust – Heart of England in Coventry was a great support service for me during my caring role and I enjoyed my time with them so much that I decided to give back to them by volunteering and fundraising for them. By creating your support system, you can feel more confident about your caring role and abilities which will benefit you and everyone in your life. You should understand that it is okay to prioritise your needs and that it is not selfish, it is self-care. When you can care for yourself, then you can care for others.

Q: Did you have a support network to help you?

A: My support system includes my family. Me and my brother share our caring responsibility and our parents join us in our efforts so we can complete the caring responsibilities together. This support system is so important to me because it lessens the burden on individuals and builds our teamworking skills. Carers Trust – Heart of England was a great support system during my time in school as it allowed me to make friends with other carers who were of similar ages to me as well as we empathised with each other and our situations.

Watch the video below to hear more from Sharandeep:

Q: How do you manage your time, particularly doing your DofE, and find the right balance whilst being a carer?

A: I sometimes struggle trying to balance all my responsibilities because I like to pursue any and every opportunity. During my DofE, I was relieved to know that my caring responsibility was recognised and could be recorded for the volunteering section and learning a language, studying Punjabi and using it with my family and in my caring role, was recognised and could be recorded in the skills section. As a Direct Gold Entrant, my programme included 18 months of volunteering, 12 months of skill and 6 months of skills, 5 day residential and 5 day expedition. Thankfully, I was able to complete my programme and manage my time by prioritising 3 items at a time.

Q. The Young Carers Action Day 2024 theme is fair futures for young carers, how do you think we can help build a more equal future for young carers?

A: It’s important to promote equality including more opportunities for young carers to pursue higher education and employment. For a fair future, it is important to include diverse access schemes for young carers. For example, school applications including a question to recognise and identify young carers, a pastoral lead in schools who understand what a young carer is and how to support them, employment institutions being more flexible with their working days to accommodate caring roles, online courses being made mandatory in institutions to teach them about young carers and learn how to support them, etc.

Q: What did it mean to you to win the Change Maker of the year category in ‘This is Youth’?

A: To win the Change Maker of the year category in ‘This is Youth’, I felt shocked and surprised. At first I was unsure as to what I had done to deserve such a prestigious award as I was just a carer supporting other carers but then after many people congratulated me and explained how impressed they were with all my volunteering efforts, it felt incredible to be recognised for my efforts. I hope that This is Youth’ is hosted every year because it is important to recognise young people for their efforts in the community as well as encourage and inspire other young people to get involved in their community to make positive change.

Read Sharandeep’s ‘This is Youth’ story in full here.

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