Over 70% of young carers feel lonely during the summer and lose an entire week of their holiday looking after a loved one, a survey has revealed.
The survey of young carers under 18 years old, carried out by Action for Children and Carers Trust, also revealed that 47% spend more than four hours a day during the summer caring for a relative.
This is the equivalent of one week of the summer holiday.
There are an estimated 700,000 children and young people across the UK caring for a family member with a disability, illness or mental health problem.
They help with practical tasks around the home such as cooking, housework and shopping. They also provide physical and personal care.
One in five (20%) of the carers said they had never been on a summer holiday with their family and over two thirds (68%) feel more stressed or worried during the holidays.
More than half (57%) of the respondents told the charities they worried about talking about what they did in the summer break when they go back to school.
‘The summer holidays can be heart-breaking for young carers who are often isolated and trapped at home, while their friends are having fun in the sunshine, playing sports or enjoying adventures abroad,’ said Carol Iddon, Action for Children’s managing director of children’s services.
‘We see first-hand the awful impact of loneliness and stress on young carers, who dedicate their lives to helping their loved ones. These children are often desperate for a break from their duties and to have a bit of fun in their holidays – that’s why young carer respite services are such a lifeline for them.’
Giles Meyer, chief executive of Carers Trust, commented: ‘Summer can be an incredibly difficult time for young carers who may feel more stressed, lonely or sad than usual, and long to have a summer holiday just like everyone else.
‘Carers Trust know that too many young carers go without support over the holidays and our evidence shows that being a young carer is a risk factor for their mental health.
‘Whilst our joint Young Carers in Schools programme provides many young carers with the support they need to do well during term time, this support doesn’t happen in the holidays when schools are closed; if local councils don’t step in, this can mean young carers need to do more caring over the summer.’