Carers’ campaign raises awareness

Two teenage carers have joined a campaign to help raise awareness of their daily lives looking after relatives.

Kerry Owen, from Pegswood, juggles studying for her A-levels with looking after her mother and younger brother.

Now the 17-year-old is keen to highlight the strains and difficulties other youngsters in similar situations face in their every day lives and is working alongside national charity Fixers.

“I want my Fixers project to make more people aware of the responsibilities and strains being a young carer can have,” she said.

“My mum’s disability began when my little brother was born. For me it’s a 24/7 job, you can’t just say that you can’t do it one day.”

Kerry’s fellow Fixer, Daniel Reed, 17, from Cramlington, helps to care for his younger brother, who is autistic.

“One of the biggest worries I have is going to university, because that means I’m going to be living away or visiting infrequently,” he said.

“If he doesn’t see me, he starts to worry because he doesn’t know when I’m coming back,.

“Meeting other carers at groups dedicated to us allows me to talk to peers who understand.

“It helps me remember it’s OK to be a carer and it’s OK to talk about it.”

Now working with the national charity which supports young people to ‘fix the future’ on any issue which matters to them, Kerry and other young carers from the county are campaigning to create more awareness and understanding of what their lives are like.

Elizabeth Ashurst, family support and placement assistant at Northumberland County Council, added: “Young carers across Northumberland are an unknown quantity and a lot of children won’t tell other peers within a school setting.”

Thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund, Fixers aims to work with a further 19,000 young people over the next three years.