Surrey Young Carers supports children under the age of 18 who have a family member with a disability or long term illness. They provide information, advice and guidance, direct support and a range of activities for 'downtime' fun, and a chance to talk to others and make new friends.
One in twelve children and teenagers are looking after someone - but many are too embarrassed or afraid to come forward and ask for help, or having been a carer for so long, they haven't recognised what they do. Half of all young carers provide up to 10 hours of care a week, while many others are caring for more than 50 hours a week. It is not surprising that young carers often struggle to fit in other activities like school work, playing sport or meeting up with friends.
Support from the Berkeley Foundation in 2016/17 has part funded a theatre production touring 22 secondary schools across Surrey, raising awareness of young carers' issues to an audience of 4,500 young people and educational staff. The Foundation funding will allow the production to be filmed and distributed to all secondary schools as an educational resource.
In addition, Berkeley Group's support has paid for 100 young carers aged under 8 to have days out at children's farms, outdoor adventure parks and Christmas events. Berkeley staff have also bought Easter eggs and Christmas books for over 200 young carers, which meant the children had something to take home with them.