By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Calls have been made to offer more support to Kent’s hidden young carers.
Kent County Council’s (KCC) Labour group says greater action should be taken by County Hall to find and identify young carers who are looking after relatives with a long-term illness, disability, mental health or substance misuse issue.
This comes after BBC research from November 2021 found there could be as many as 30,000 hidden young carers based in the county.
It means youngsters may be missing out on “vital” support packages, such as short breaks, access to universal credit and council tax reductions.
Labour county councillor Alister Brady, of Canterbury, passionately said: “They need more help. KCC has a responsibility to support and identify them.”
His comments were made last Thursday during a budget debate involving dozens of Conservative, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat councillors.
The gathering was held in a large conference room at the Kent Showground in Maidstone.
Labour member, Cllr Karen Constantine, of Ramsgate, said young carers were “under supported”, despite the important role they play in their communities.
The group called for a reallocation of £120,000 from KCC’s £1.2billion budget to provide more local help, such as through charities like Imago Community.
However, KCC’s Conservative administration voted against the amendment that was put forward by its main opposition rival.
Cllr Sue Chandler (Con), KCC’s cabinet member for children’s services, said there are too many young carers for the county council to identify alone.
The Sandwich elected member also described the £120k proposed increase as an “arbitrary” figure, although supported the motion in principle.
These children need our support as they will be losing school time, become exhausted by the time and effort they put in. We are taking them back to the factories act and mill and mine working children. I was reading a report of the factories act where children over 10 could not work longer than 9 hours a day. Penny pinching will keep these children from reaching their potential
Absolutely agree that Young Carers need infinitely more help than they already receive. Sadly, if KCC continue to pump money into organisations like Imago, nothing will change. They have had their contract to deliver support for Young Carers since 2016, and done shamefully little to support these poor children. According to the last census, Thanet has the 2nd highest number of Young Carers in Kent, just behind Swale. Can anyone out there tell me what Imago have done for Young Carers in Thanet? Seriously? What support, groups, clubs, trips, counselling or advocacy have they done for Thanet’s Young Carers? That’s right, next to nothing…
I sincerely hope Cllr Constantine reads this response, because she and the other members, not to mention the commissioners at KCC, must wake up and stop funding these top-heavy organisations that promise the Earth and deliver nothing.
Never had this problem when Labour Controlled KKC . HE He