Press Release

Minister of State McEntee attends Scottish Young Carers Festival

Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, today attended the closing day of the 2016 Scottish Young Carers Festival in West Linton near Edinburgh, Scotland. The event has been held annually since 2008 and brings together 600 young carers from across Scotland for a weekend of fun, respite and consultation. The event also gives young carers a national voice and raises their profile as a group.

Minister McEntee was able to engage at first hand with young carers and hear their views on what is needed to support them in their caring role. She toured the festival site and also attended a theatre performance written and developed by a group of young carers around some scenarios they face on a daily basis. Speaking after the event, Minister McEntee said: “This Festival is primarily about giving young people a break from their caring duties, but importantly, it also gives young carers an opportunity to speak to local and national politicians and representatives from health and social care services about the issues affecting them. I was impressed by the dedication of these young people in caring for frail, sick or disabled family members, often in difficult circumstances.”

Minister McEntee continued: “In Ireland, Census 2011 recorded almost 8,500 young carers under 20 in Ireland, including over 1800 under the age of 10. Our National Carers Strategy commits to supporting children and young people with caring responsibilities and protecting them from the adverse impacts of caring. I have a particular interest in young carers and feel that we can learn from Scotland’s experience in this regard”.

Note for Editors

A young carer is a child or young person whose life is affected in a significant way by the need to provide care for a family member who has an illness, disability, addiction or other care requirement. The caring role has the potential for significant negative effects on young carers, including educational and social disadvantage, resulting in reduced life choices and limited opportunities.

The HSE recently launched a website for family carers (www.hse.ie/carers) to coincide with National Carer’s week. The site acts as a ‘one stop’ shop for carers, providing information, signposting them to relevant services across the HSE website and providing links to statutory and voluntary organisations who support carers such as Family Carers Ireland, the Department of Social Protection and Citizens Information. The site also offers practical tips for carers on looking after their own health and wellbeing. Family Carers Ireland provides a range of supports to help young carers look after themselves, including information packs, toolkits, online supports (www.youngcarers.ie), dedicated support groups, respite breaks, educational supports and opportunities for young carers to come together socially.

ENDS