Helping hand for six-year-old carer Ruby who looks after mum and sister

Elizabeth Ashton with her daughters Scarlett  and Ruby and husband James Ashton. Ruby, right, cares for her mother and sister.
Elizabeth Ashton with her daughters Scarlett and Ruby and husband James Ashton. Ruby, right, cares for her mother and sister.

GOING to a soft play centre or a trip to a theme park are activities which many children enjoy during the summer holidays.

GOING to a soft play centre or a trip to a theme park are activities which many children enjoy during the summer holidays.

But for young carers, like six-year-old Ruby Ashton from Annesley Woodhouse, they provide a much-needed break from their daily responsibilities.

Ruby supports her mum Elizabeth and four-year-old sister Scarlett. Both have a hereditary birth defect known as split hand/foot malformation which means they have missing fingers and toes.

As a result Ruby plays a vital role with ordinary tasks such as opening food packets and fastening buttons.

Her dad James also has a number of mental health conditions so there are times when Ruby has to help out even more.

Now Ruby is getting support from a care assistant funded by Nottinghamshire County Council, as well as direct payments.

She has also been on day trips to places like Gulliver’s Kingdom thanks to a link up between the council and the charity, Family Action.

Elizabeth said: “Having a carer for half an hour most mornings is a great help to me and is invaluable to my family.

“It reduces the pressure on Ruby having to help the family get ready for school or the day ahead.

“She is really enjoying the day trips and has a greater understanding of how important her help is to the family since the morning carer started.”

The council launched a £1.8m funding pot initially for two years from April 2011. This funding will be permanent from April 2013. For details call 08449 80 80 80 or email enquiries@nottscc.gov.uk.