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.