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Young carers

Young carers can get lots of help and support both inside and outside school - and some students may not even realise that they are entitled to ask for it.

All students are being encouraged to come forward if they think they may be a young carer.

Young carers are ordinary young people under the age of 18 who help to look after a family member. This may be a parent or sibling who is unwell or has a physical or learning disability, mental health problem or difficulties with drugs or alcohol.

Students who are identified as young carers get extra support with issues such as homework and uniform. They are also offered regular one-to-one sessions to talk through problems and take part in monthly group meetings to discuss issues.

Sue Webster, young carers champion at Ibstock College, said: "We want to encourage young carers to come forward so that we can develop a support network at the college for them and make sure that they always have a point of contact to come to.

"A lot of students do not realise they are classed as young carers: being a carer is just a way of life for them. Being a carer is not necessarily a negative experience but we want to make sure that it is a positive experience in college."

The college organises regular activities for young carers to encourage them to socialise and develop new skills. These include outdoor adventure trips and cooking classes.

There are also plans to set up a student-led peer mentoring scheme from September where current students will work with new Year 7s to support young carers.

Students can also contact Barnardo's CareFree Young Carers' Services on 0116 286 7182. The service covers Leicestershire and offers added suppport to young people.

Other useful contacts include:

Childline: 0800 11 11 (free)

Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

Youthline: 0800 096 1425 (free)

NHS Direct: 111 (free)