With an average of two young carers in every classroom in every school in the UK – it is vital that schools are geared up to support them. The Diocese of Guildford has been working with six of its church schools to pilot a new award from Surrey Young Carers (SYC) – which recognises the work they do to support young carers. We’re delighted that two of our church schools in Surrey, Potters Gate CofE Primary in Farnham and St Paul’s CofE Primary in Addlestone, have been presented with the Surrey Young Carers (SYC) ‘Angel Award’.
The SYC ‘Angel Award’ was launched in 2019 and has been developed by young carers themselves, to be presented to schools who can demonstrate that they are ‘young carer friendly’ – through initiatives like young carer groups, young carer champions, staff awareness training and special assemblies encouraging young carers to come forward and ask for help.
Surrey Young Carers Education advisers work with schools to help put practical support in place for young carers and on completion of the checklist and evidence schools are presented with an SYC ‘Angel Award’ plaque of recognition and a certificate signed by Dave Hill, Executive Director for Children, Families and Learning at Surrey County Council. The school are linked up with the Children’s Worker for the parish to ensure church and school are working together and the school nurse facilitates an NHS young carer registration – to open up a range of health care benefits to young carers, including flexible GP appointments.
Clive Richardson, Carers Support Adviser for the Diocese of Guildford, said:
“There are currently six church schools in the diocese who have either recently received the award or who are working towards the Angel Award. Support for Young Carers is something we would encourage in all church schools in the Diocese of Guildford. I am delighted to acknowledge the outstanding work Potters Gate and St Pauls schools have done to support young carers, and that their work has received the recognition it deserves. It's good that our church schools are amongst those leading the way in young carer support.”
These awards are particularly timely as we approach the summer holidays – which for many children are a chance to relax and spend quality time with family. Sadly, for the estimated 700,000 children and young people across the UK who are responsible for caring for a family member with a disability, illness or mental health problem – the summer holidays can be a time of loneliness, stress and worry.
Research from the Action for Children and Carers Trust suggests that nearly three quarters of young carers feel lonely during the summer holidays, two thirds feel more stressed or worried during the holidays and more than half worry about talking about what they did in the summer break when they go back to school.