Press Releases 2014-2015

Residential Event the Largest Gathering of Young Adult Carers in Wales

03.06.2015

Carers Trust Wales and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) have hosted the biggest gathering of young adult carers ever seen in Wales.

The free two-day residential event, called ‘Time to be Heard’, took place at UWTSD’s Carmarthen campus on Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th June. An estimated 120 young adult carers, between the ages of 16 and 25, took part.

As well as the chance to participate in fun activities and sports, there was an opportunity for the carers to learn more about university life. There were taster lectures in a range of higher education subjects and advice was given about university finance, careers and how to apply. Also in attendance were young adult carers who are already at university.

Importantly, the event offered young adult carers a rare chance to take a break from their caring duties as well as an opportunity to meet other carers.

Young adult carers are those who care, unpaid, for a friend or family member who could not cope without their support. According to the 2011 census, there are 22,655 young adult carers in Wales balancing their caring duties with their education, employment or training – that’s at least one young adult carer in every class.

Alex Atkins is a young adult carer who is studying for a degree in youth and community work at UWTSD. Prior to attending university she was supported by the young carers project at Carers Trust Swansea Bay and now volunteers her time to the project whenever possible.

Alex said: “Juggling university and caring responsibilities is not easy. I was lucky enough to have my family supporting me to go to university, in addition to having brilliant support from my college. I also had the opportunity to be involved in the Reaching Wider Summer University where I could discover what university was like and whether it was for me or not.

“I stayed on campus during my first year to experience uni life, even though I travelled home every weekend. I was lucky enough that UWTSD had a young carers bursary, which helped with the travel costs.

“If a carer goes to university they need to know that they will be fully supported. UWTSD is a close knit community where I don't feel lost and don't feel judged. My lecturers understood and the University has employed a specific individual to support myself and other young adult carers. My advice to young carers is to give further and higher education a go; it will make a difference to your whole life.”

Simon Hatch, Director of Carers Trust Wales, said “There are at least 22,655 young adult carers in Wales, and we believe it’s time their voices were heard.

“Many young adult carers have been caring for most of their lives, often putting the needs of the person they care for above their own. Leaving school, going to college or university, entering employment – these are difficult transitions for all young adults. However, for young adult carers, when there isn’t the support that they need they can be insurmountable obstacles.

“We were delighted to host this residential for young adult carers in partnership with UWTSD. This residential is just a first step. We are committed to working with young adult carers in Wales, committed to helping them make their voices heard on what matters most to them, and in doing so creating a Wales that gives young adult carers the support they need and the recognition they deserve.”

Dai Rogers, Director of Student Services at UWTSD, said “It was a great pleasure for us to host this residential event. Young Adult Carers have great responsibility but that should not be a barrier to their progress in life. Working with charities such as Carers Trust Wales, higher education institutions have a duty to do all they can to assure carers that university is an option open to them, as well as offering the appropriate support to fulfil their potential while studying.

“This is something that UWTSD is committed too, both in terms of financial support, including a Young Adult Carers Bursary, and pastoral support from academic staff and Student Services.”

Further Information

For more information please contact Steven Stokes, Principal Corporate Communications and PR Officer, on 01792 483695 / 07872 423788 or email steven.stokes@uwtsd.ac.uk.