Nottinghamshire Council data shows there are 5,562 carers under the age of 25 – 650 of which are aged five-17.
It comes as the authority has drafted its Carers’ Strategy, which aims to ‘enable unpaid carers to access the right support they need to enable them to maintain their caring role whilst having a life alongside caring’.
According to data from the census in 2011, there were 90,698 carers in Nottinghamshire – which is estimated by Carers UK to have risen to 189,040 in 2021.
Coun Steve Carr told an adult social care and public health committee meeting: “There are some figures in this report that are extremely concerning to me.
“The fact the estimate is we have now got more than 189,000 carers, just in the county.
“We’ve 5,562 carers under the age of 25 and of those, 650 carers who are between the ages of five and 17.
“I am always of the opinion that people should have opportunities throughout their life. What opportunities are those 650 children missing out on?”
Coun Matt Barney said: “Like Coun Carr, who has referenced the shocking details in the number of people that this report identifies who are providing care and support services, I was surprised and shocked.
“The numbers are amplified in this report and inescapable.”
Coun Boyd Elliott, committee chairman, said: “These numbers appear alarming, but the council has done a lot of work to identify these carers.”
Sue Batty, ageing well community services service director, agreed there is a ‘high number’ of unpaid carers and more are being identified every year.
She said: “The work we do with those young carers is to make sure they have the same chance, that they are able to do that caring role without it negatively impacting their health and wellbeing.
“We know informal carers have been significantly impacted by Covid. We have seen a lot more people taking on a caring role and have seen many carers experiencing high stress and fatigue levels.
“Supporting these carers and future new carers is a priority within the strategy.”
Councillors agreed a public consultation on the draft strategy.