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Dedicated help and support for Notts young carers

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Three support officers dedicated to giving help and advice to young carers across Nottinghamshire have been recruited by the County Council.

The new posts will cost the Council £109,204 a year and their role will focus on assessing young people who care for a parent or sibling with a disability or illness to see if more support is needed for them and the person they look after.

In Ashfield there are 56 young carers and 60 in Mansfield.

In Nottinghamshire 326 young carers aged between five to 18 years of age who have benefitted from help and support since April 2014.

Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, the County Council’s deputy leader and chair of its health and wellbeing Board, said: “Young carers become vulnerable when the level of care giving and responsibility is excessive so it’s vital that the Council puts in place the right support to ensure they can enjoy their childhood.

“Effectively assessing a young carer’s needs can take a lot of time so I’m delighted we have in place officers who are focussed on this important work.”

Oliver and Jacob Brown aged nine and 12, from Mansfield help their father Chris to look after their mother Rachel.

Rachel has range of physical disabilities, mental health problems and a non-epileptic seizure disorder which affect her mobility and leave her in a great deal of pain. Chris also has pain problems and has cerebral palsy.

Rachel currently receives a Direct Payment from the Council which enables her to employ a personal assistant for around 26 hours each week.

The boys also have a Direct Payment, which have been used for days out.

Rachel said: “The boys are so good and make sure I’m OK if Chris has to go out. They are always fetching me a drink or helping with little things like helping to put my shoes on.

“My personal assistant helps take the pressure off of John and the boys so they can go to the cinema or skate park when she is around and we can all have a family day out with her support.”

Chris said: “Rachel has a life box to raise the alarm if she is having a particularly bad seizure and the boys use this if they need help. They take their caring duties in their stride and helping Rachel has made them very compassionate towards people with disabilities. We are both very proud of the boys.”

Direct Payments can be used in a variety of ways including computer equipment for educational purposes, internet access, driving or music lessons, or activities such as ballet, horse riding or visits to the cinema.

The support officers can also put in place a care package for the person being cared for so that the young carer is not carrying out care that is inappropriate for their age.